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Author's Name: Leonora Risse
Date: Tue 04 May 2021

Leonora Risse

Dr Leonora Risse

Dr Leonora Risse is a Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University, a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University, and a Research Fellow with the Women's Leadership Institute Australia.

She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Queensland and has previously served as a Senior Research Economist for the Australian Government Productivity Commission.

Dr Risse is a co-founder of the Women in Economics Network (WEN) in Australia and currently serves as the National Chair of WEN. She is a member of the Central Council of the Economic Society of Australia. She is an affiliate of the Life Course Centre, the Global Labor Organization, the National Foundation for Australia Women, and Gender Equity Victoria. In 2021 she was named among Apolitical's 100 Most Influential People on Gender Policy.

Subject area expertise

Labour economics; behavioural economics; gender equality; disadvantage and wellbeing; diversity and inclusion; demographic economics; public policy

Website

https://leonorarisse.com/


Comments (1)


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The budget fulfils the need to spend big as the way to keep the economy on the road to recovery. Where there is scope for improvement is in terms of how this money is spent. The government is mainly relying on conventional sources of growth (eg. physical infrastructure and manufacturing) and could do more to adopt a more strategic, forward-thinking approach, better tailored to the pandemic environment. Building a strong, inclusive, sustainable economic future for Australia requires more attention on long-run drivers of growth: (1) investment in the university sector as generator of productivity-enhancing skills, knowledge and research (2) incentives for R&D and innovation across all industries (3) investment in the workforce capabilities, resourcing, and wages and working conditions of high-need, high-growth sectors (eg. aged care, mental health services)4) strategies to combat the fact that closed borders have currently turned the tap off two key sources of economic growth ? migration and export-oriented services. (4) strategies to combat the fact that closed borders have currently turned the tap off two key sources of economic growth ? migration and export-oriented services $17.7 billion for aged care is aimed at lifting the quality of a sub-standard system. While a critical mission in its own right, the budget misses the opportunity to transform the aged care sector into a driver of growth. Along with childcare, disability care and mental health services, investments in care infrastructure facilitate stronger workforce involvement and the more efficient use of skills among those who currently give their time towards unpaid care (predominantly women). Plus these are labour-intensive industries which - with adequate resourcing - generate jobs. A more comprehensive budget response would make stronger provisions for not just expanding places, but also supporting the workforces responsible for delivering these care services. Modelling commissioned by the National Foundation for Australian Women quantifies the clear growth dividend, and shows that this form of public investment (which includes lifting the wages of care workers) largely pays for itself by activating higher workforce participation and hence tax revenue (See: https://nfaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Appendix-A.pdf). Assessment by the Grattan Institute suggests that the 33,800 aged care training places earmarked in the budget is in sufficient to secure a pipeline of qualified staff (See: https://theconversation.com/budget-package-doesnt-guarantee-aged-care-residents-will-get-better-care-160611). Similarly, while the budget trims the cost of childcare for some families, it does not contribute to expanding the childcare workforce's capacity to respond to this higher demand. Federal leadership is missing in construction of quarantine stations to host returning citizens, skilled migrants, international students, business travellers, and others whose contributions matter for long-term economic growth, as well as enabling Australians to reconnect with family members as a matter of wellbeing. Besides generating jobs, this seemingly essential component of our plan towards economic recovery - and re-integration with the global economy - was a missed opportunity.

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