National Economic Panel



ESA National Economic Panel Polls





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Author's Name: Rachel Ong ViforJ
Date: Tue 12 Feb 2019

Rachel Ong

Professor Rachel Ong ViforJ

Rachel is Professor of Economics at the School of Economics, Finance and Property, Curtin University. Her research addresses a range of important policy issues relating to housing and population ageing in Australia. These include housing affordability dynamics, the role of housing wealth in retirement, intergenerational housing concerns, and the links between housing and the economy. She has significant expertise in the evaluation of tax-transfer reforms. Rachel was the recipient of the ESA Young Economist Award in 2018. She is currently a member of the CEDA Council on Economic Policy. She is also an Australian representative on the Steering Committee for the Asia-Pacific Network for Housing Research.

Subject Area Expertise

Housing policy, Housing economics, Population ageing, Tax-transfer evaluation, Mature age employment participation, Intergenerational equity


Responses (3)

Government Debt during the COVID19 Crisis

Poll 40

"Governments should provide ongoing fiscal support to boost aggregate demand during the economic crisis and recovery, even if it means a substantial increase in public debt"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 




Governments should be very careful about suddenly removing fiscal support suddenly until the economy embarks on a steady trajectory of recovery. However, they should look at reducing the level of fiscal support incrementally as soon as possible.

Wage freeze for economic recovery

Poll 39

"A freeze in the minimum wage will support Australia's economic recovery"

Photo credit: Wes Mountain/The ConversationCC BY-ND 




The level at which the minimum wage should be set has remained a contentious issue for policymakers. Central to the policy dilemma is the extent to which increases in the minimum wage might reduce the demand for labour. Australia is likely facing a prolonged period of economic recovery with high unemployment rates for the foreseeable future. Hence, policymakers should be wary that raising the minimum wages may potentially further depress labour demand and offset efforts to reduce the unemployment rate in a weak economic environment. Concerns regarding these trade-offs are less relevant under strong economic conditions. Unfortunately, the current economic reality is a sombre one, so the priority should be assisting people to return to work , before consideration can be given to raising the minimum wage. It is also worth noting that unemployment is associated with substantially worse life satisfaction and financial prosperity outcomes than those working in minimum wage jobs. Raising the minimum wage may also lead to relatively small improvements in disposable incomes due to the gradual withdrawal of income-tested welfare benefits that usually accompany wage rises for low-income earners.

Royal Banking Commission (II) - February 2019

Poll 35

"There is no way to significantly increase the degree to which Australian retail banks act in the interests of consumers."