National Economic Panel



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Author's Name: Nicole Black
Date: Tue 04 May 2021

Nicole Black

Associate Professor Nicole Black

Nicole Black is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Health Economics, Monash Business School. Nicole's research interests include child health and development, economics of mental health, economics of obesity, and measurement issues in health and wellbeing. She currently holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award(DECRA). A key focus of her research is to investigate the role of children’s time investments in reducing inequalities in children’s cognitive development, emotional wellbeing and mental health. She is also a chief investigator on an ARC Discovery Research Project, which aims to investigate the socioeconomic inequalities in access to mental healthcare in Australia. She is currently on the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journal, Health Economics. Nicole received her PhD in Health Economics from Monash University, and received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research by an Early Career Researcher in 2016.

Responses (7)

Budget 2023

Poll 59

Our panellists were asked the following 2023 budget question: "On May 9, the government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to strike a balance between relief, repair and restraint'.  What grade would you give the budget, given that objective: A, B, C, D, E or F?"

Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND -


Overall rating: B - Keeping inflationary pressures in check: C


How economists would raise $20 billion per year

Poll 58

When panellests were asked to find an extra A$20 billion per year to fund government priorities like building nuclear submarines and responding to climate change, Australia’s top economists overwhelmingly back land tax, increased resource taxes, an attack on negative gearing and extending the scope of the goods and services tax.

Photo credit by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash


Efficiency picks: Broaden the set of goods and services captured by the GST Introduce or increase land taxes (possibly with cut in stamp duty) Increase the GST Equity picks: Wind back superannuation tax concessions Increase the corporate tax rate, Wind back deductions for negatively geared properties

Prioritising issues for the incoming Government

Poll 54

Panellists were asked: 

"From this list, please pick the three issues you think will be the most important for the incoming government and should be the most important in the election".

Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND



Health: As the country recovers from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many health system issues, which left unchecked will lead to worse health outcomes, particularly among our most disadvantaged. Poor health reduces productivity and impacts society through welfare and health care costs. High out-of-pocket costs for seeing specialists, including paediatricians, psychologists and allied health specialists makes needed health care unaffordable for many Australians. Reductions in medical check-ups due to the pandemic have led to later diagnoses and treatment of conditions such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness. Ensuring timely and affordable access to primary and specialist care will not only improve health outcomes of individuals, but also help reduce the burden on costly emergency department and hospital care. Education: Greater investment in education is needed to ensure Australia remains globally competitive as an exporter of education and for our human capital. Improved access to quality early childhood education and child care are especially needed, more than subsidies for childcare, there should be a focus on workforce training and wages. This will allow parents of young children to increase participation in the labour market, and give all children the opportunity to benefit from early social and cognitive skill development. Social support: Economic disadvantage is tied to many health problems and social issues. Longer term solutions to address poverty, including raising income support, are needed, especially for single parent families. Climate and environment will undoubtedly be important for the incoming government, but unfortunately pricing carbon does not appear to be on the table.

Australia’s top economists back carbon price, say benefits of net-zero outweigh cost

Poll 50

Ahead of November’s Glasgow climate talks, our panellists were asked

"Australia would likely benefit overall from the national economy transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"


An economy-wide carbon price (either via a cap-and-trade scheme or an emissions tax)


Promoting vaccination uptake in Australia

Poll 49

"What measures should Australian governments adopt to promote demand for vaccination once supply is no longer a constraint?"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"


National advertising campaigns;Mandatory vaccination for higher risk occupations;Cash incentives for vaccination;Lotteries with cash or prizes for the vaccinated;Vaccine passports for higher-risk settings (eg. flights, restaurants, major events)

Transition to electric cars

Poll 47

This month, our panellists were asked whether Australia should take action to speed the transition to electric cars.

"As part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Australian governments should take action to accelerate the take up, or take no action to accelerate the take up of electric cars"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"




What we need is good pricing policy around pollution and then people can adapt to that with whatever is the best decision. This may or may not be electric cars. This type of interfering in markets is inefficient and misguided.

The Federal Budget May 2021

Poll 46

"On May 11, the government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to 'secure Australia's economic recovery and build for the future'.  What grade would you give the budget given that objective, A, B, C, D, E, F?"

Photo credit Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND




Good to see overdue attention given to a range of sectors including aged care, mental health and childcare, and great to see a focus on women. But, in most cases, funding will not go far enough and it remains to be seen whether the funding boost to mental health services reaches those most in need, including those in rural and remote areas. I would like to have seen federal support for the emotional wellbeing and mental health of school-aged children ? this is where life-long differences can be made. A coordinated national program to consistently measure and track the mental health and wellbeing of students in all schools would be a good start. It would allow us to build needed evidence for future investments.