Over the last few weeks I’ve written several blogs why 2013 is going to be a great year to be living in Australia and why it should be a particularly good year for property investors.
If you missed it you can read 10 reasons you should feel positive about property in 2013
This is the best country in which to live, work and play.
Financially and economically, we are the envy of the world. Think about it; no economic recession for 21 years, avoided Asian Financial Crisis in the ’90s, avoided Global Financial Crisis in 2008-12, low unemployment, low inflation, solid economic growth and strong financial system.
We’re by no means perfect, and there’s plenty we can improve, but international economic think-tanks like the International Monetary Fund and OECD are quite right to praise our performance.
Let’s look at Kochie’s 10 reasons we’re so lucky:
1. Globally competitive
It started with Paul Keating as treasurer when he cut tariffs, introduced compulsory super and deregulated the financial system, including floating the Australian dollar. It continued with John Howard when he deregulated the labour market and reformed taxation by introducing the GST.
These were critical reforms that developed a flexible and globally competitive economy. We are a small, trading nation that depends on exports, so we must think global. These reforms helped us do just that.
2. Right place, right time
There is no doubt Australia is beautifully placed to benefit from the so-called “Asian Century”. Remember when then-treasurer Paul Keating claimed Australia was at the “arse end of the world”? Not any more.
China is now our biggest trading partner. Last year, China overtook Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy and is predicted to knock off the US for top spot within the next 10 years.
Australia is ideally positioned not only to be Asia’s supermarket and quarry but also its hospital, educator and holiday home. Exports of health, education, financial and tourism services are surging.
3. Productive workforce
We are a smart and hard-working labour force, thanks to top public and tertiary education systems. The Aussie bludger is more myth than reality.
Productivity levels change depending on industrial relations policies of individual governments and can be skewed by droughts and mining booms and busts. But over time, the workforce has performed well.
4. Sensible politicians
Before you abuse us, just think about it. Yes, they can be juvenile, they can be shallow, they can lie to us and they can seem to be more concerned about their political survival than the good of the country.
BUT. Compare them with those overseas. There are no extremists (or, if there are, they’re a tiny minority) and when the big decisions have to be made, our politicians generally do the right thing.
5. Free markets
As a trading nation, the development of free trade agreements has played a huge role in opening new markets, building jobs and adding to exports.
6. Strong banks
Like politicians, the big banks cop criticism over poor service, excessive profits, big executive salaries, inconsistent credit policies and miserly interest rate decisions.
We’re not disputing those criticisms but a key foundation of any prosperous economy has to be strong banks and financial regulation. Kevin Rudd’s decision to guarantee bank deposits during the GFC was critical at a time when the world’s banking system seized up.
Just look at how bank collapses have paralysed overseas economies, and the public have lost deposits, to see just how important strong banks are.
7. Independent Reserve Bank
The Reserve Bank plays an important stabilising role in the economy and can be a counter to poor government economic decisions.
The use of interest rates (monetary policy) plays a key part in fine-tuning the economy. Our Reserve Bank is regarded as being world class.
8. Sound legal system
It goes without saying that a sound legal system enhances business confidence, promotes transparency and helps fight corruption. We take it for granted but this is the foundation of any developed society and economy.
9. Entrepreneurial Aussie spirit
Australian business people and workers are highly regarded because we’re seen as not only hard-working but also personable and entrepreneurial. We give things a go.
That entrepreneurial spirit means our business community is not afraid to change, to re-engineer, to develop new products and search out new markets. It makes for a resilient business community that is always looking forward.
10. Good migration policies
We are a small, ageing population in a big world.
Our business migration scheme has targeted good entrepreneurs to bring their skills, and money, to Australia to build a better life.