Findings from a recent survey reveal community attitudes to growth and development.
A first-of-its-kind national poll was commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). The survey report published in July – ‘Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect’ – included the views of 600 Victorians from a national sample of 3000.
"We surveyed Australians to understand the extent to which they feel they’ve benefited from economic growth and whether Australia’s ‘record run of 27 years of economic growth’ narrative connected with them," says CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento.
"We also wanted to understand their personal priorities and understand the issues that matter to the nation more generally, in terms of our nation’s future" she says. "Better understanding of what the community really cares about is important if CEDA’s work is to be relevant to a wide audience and if we’re to better connect economic development to people’s aspirations and regain momentum for broad-based economic reforms."
Top findings from CEDA’s 'Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect' report
CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento breaks down the survey results.
Liveability depends on providing services to meet population growth.
"If you look at the incredible period of unbroken growth since 1991, Victoria’s economy has grown considerably – Gross State Product has more than doubled (from around $180 billion to almost $400 billion), Victoria’s population has grown by about 2 million people and over 1.3 million jobs have been created. Victoria’s population has grown based on economic opportunities and liveability. Maintaining this reputation for liveability will require governments to keep up with future growth in terms of providing health, housing, aged care, law and order, essential services and supporting infrastructure. It’s clear from our survey that these are the issues that are most important to the community."
Despite 27 years of national economic growth, the majority of Victorians don’t feel like they’ve gained – or don’t know if they’ve gained – from economic growth.
"We saw this coming – the fact that growth and reform conversations didn’t seem to be resonating as important with many in the community was one reason we undertook the survey. But that sentiment came through much more strongly than expected. And the answer probably lies beneath the headline economic figures. Many households have faced rising annual costs in housing, healthcare and electricity and have probably felt like they’re not getting ahead, and I think that has come through in the survey."
Victorians are spending slightly longer commuting compared with the national results but rated commuting times as unimportant.
"Low importance on commuting times in Victoria was surprising given growing demands on transport infrastructure. It’s possible major infrastructure works underway are playing a part in reducing concern. We’ll need to look at survey results over a number of years to get a better picture of what’s driving community attitudes on commuting times."
Victorians place increased importance on a higher minimum wage.
"This may reflect the current situation where one in five non-managerial employees in Victoria is award reliant and one in three Victorians are finding it difficult or very difficult to live on their current incomes. It’s worth noting that of the 12.5 million people employed in Australia, around 2.3 million are directly affected by minimum wage decisions, so this issue will no doubt remain heavily contested in the policy and political debate."
At work, Victorians are more optimistic about new technology in their job and less concerned technology will replace them, compared to national results.
"Seemingly at odds with concerns about the impact of technology on jobs, Victorian respondents to the survey are widely accepting of new technology in the workplace – 71 per cent would welcome technology that helped them to do their job and only 10 per cent are concerned that technology would replace them. Hopefully this reflects genuine optimism about the opportunities technology can bring.
"Lower concern about technology replacing jobs may reflect the number of jobs in Victoria in sectors like health, education and services that are less susceptible to automation, based on recent studies. Evidence seems to point to technology driving more of a reconfiguration of tasks, activities and skills required for different occupations, rather than occupations disappearing altogether."
Victorians place increased importance on mental health services.
"Nearly half of Victorians will experience mental health issues in their lifetime, and this significantly impacts Victoria’s health system, economy and wider community. The challenge for governments is to meet community expectations across the spectrum of healthcare services against the backdrop of fiscal constraints, escalating costs and rising expectations. One interpretation of these results is that people are concerned about ensuring they can access and afford the healthcare services that underpin their quality of life."
Victorians give greater value to quality, accessible public hospitals; increased pension payments; quality and choice of aged care services; and quality, accessible public schools.
"The results show the following expectation remains strong: that government should provide services fundamental to quality of life in Victoria, such as health, education and aged care."
The complete findings from this report can be found on the CEDA website.
Compare your electricity charges on the Victorian Energy Compare website.