Grattan orange report cover

Australians live longer than most other people, and public debt is relatively low. But we don't score so well against comparable countries when it comes to housing costs, education and pollution from electricity production. 

The Grattan Institute's Commonwealth Orange Book 2019 rates Australia’s performance against similar countries and proposes policy reforms to schools and universities, hospitals and housing, roads and railways, cities and regions, budgets and taxes, retirement incomes and climate change.

Among its recommendations are:

  • a universal dental care scheme
  • additional social housing tightly targeted towards Australians at high risk of homelessness
  • a 40 per cent increase in the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance
  • reducing income tax but cutting the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent; winding back negative gearing; tightening superannuation tax concessions; and broadening or increasing the GST
  • moving to a low-emissions economy
  • stopping using transport policies for political purposes

Drawing on 10 years of Grattan research and reports, the Orange Book finds Australians’ living standards have stagnated, the pace of economic reform has slowed, people are increasingly anxious about their financial prospects – and our political system is not dealing well with these challenges.


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