Publications & Research Resources

While much of the work of the Centre is project oriented, the Centre seeks to present results of commissioned work in academic and wider public forums when possible.

Publications

The Centre publishes Economic Briefing Reports on current and prospective economic conditions twice per year. Shortly after publication the key themes are presented at a lunch for Corporate Members.

The Briefing Reports focus particularly on the South Australian economy but also consider Australian and international trends for context. Forecasts of key economic variables for the South Australian and national economies (e.g. Gross State/Domestic product and employment) are provided for the current and next financial years.

Focus articles include:

  • Characteristics of Interstate and Overseas Migrants (June 2018)
  • Revealing the True Role of South Australian Services Exports (December 2017)
  • Challenges Facing the Global Economy (December 2017)
  • The Economics of Mr Trump (December 2016)
  • Causes of Global Disinflation and the Implications for Australia's Macroeconomic Policy - should we be preparing for negative interest rates and helicopter money? (June 2016)
  • Underlying Causes of the Weak Global Recovery (December 2015)
  • South Australia's Macroeconomic Performance in Perspective (July 2015)
  • Key Insights into Regional Prospects for Northern Adelaide (December 2014)
  • Wither the Euro? (June 2014)
  • Personal Income Tax for the States? (June 2014)
  • The South Australian Economy in Transition (June 2014)
  • Life After Holden (December 2013)
  • The Fine State of South Australia (December 2013)
  • Budget Deficits, Government Debt and the Central Bank (June 2013)
  • Motor Vehicles, Manufacturing and Public Policy (June 2013)
  • South Australia's Mining Sector in Perspective (December 2012)
  • South Australia's Boom in Asian Exports (December 2012)
  • The Future of Manufacturing in South Australia (December 2012)
  • A Comment on the South Australian Budget 2012/13 (December 2012)
  • International Developments and Outlook (December 2012)

The majority of our consultancy reports are confidential, however a selection of publicly available consultancy reports is provided below:

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  • Stretton Fellowship: The Value of Social Enterprise

    Stretton Fellowship: The Value of Social Enterprise

    Commissioned by the Stretton Centre, in conjunction with Housing SA, now operating as the South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA), this report provides estimates of the social value of social enterprise using two case studies of projects operating in South Australia. Part of a broader initiative that explores opportunities for the public sector to target procurement of goods and service for greater social benefit, the study also briefly describes the industry sectors and market areas of social enterprises operating in the state.

    By Andreas Cebulla, September 2018.

  • Kangaroo Island: Monitoring Economic Progress

    Kangaroo Island: Monitoring Economic Progress

    SACES was commissioned to develop a set of economic indicators to monitor economic progress in Kangaroo Island. The economic indicators report represents part of an effort by the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island to develop a set of evidence-based economic, social and environmental indicators to monitor the progress of sustainable development in Kangaroo Island.

    By Michael O'Neil, Suraya Abdul Halim and Mark Trevithick, September 2017.

  • The Potential Benefits of Reforming Migration Policies to Address South Australia's Needs

    The Potential Benefits of Reforming Migration Policies to Address South Australia's Needs

    SACES was commissioned by a consortium of businesses and peak bodies to explore national immigration policy in the context of challenges facing economic and business development in South Australia, particularly for regional South Australia (SA). It specifically focusses on barriers that current visa regulations may impose onutilising international migration to the benefit of the SA economy, and in particular any aspects of the migration system that may be less effective for South Australian businesses relative to those in more populous, higher wage, states. In doing so, it not only considers skilled labour migration, but also business , student, and temporary graduate student visa access.

    By Steve Whetton and Andreas Cebulla, April 2017.

    The Potential Benefits of Reforming Migration Policies to Address South Australia's Needs, Report 2: Areas Where the Migration System Does Not Meet South Australia's Needs

    The second report of SACES research into migration policy settings takes a closer look at some of the concerns raised by business owners and representatives about ways in which the current design of the skilled migration system means that it can’t adequately assist South Australian businesses facing skills shortage, nor can it fulfil its potential to address South Australia’s ageing population.

    By Steve Whetton and Andreas Cebulla, June 2017.

    The Potential Benefits of Reforming Migration Policies to Address South Australia's Needs, Report 3: Policy Solutions

    In the final report from our recent research into migration and unmet demand in SA’s labour market, we focus on the ways in which migration policy could be changed to meet the needs of South Australia (and regional Australia more broadly), rather than those of Sydney and Melbourne. Most importantly we recommend re-introducing a temporary work visa that gives greater flexibility to regional needs, and allows local employers to address their own unmet demand, rather than positions in demand in the major cities.

    By Steve Whetton and Andreas Cebulla, September 2017.

  • Sanctuary Zones Regional Impact Assessment Statement: Ceduna, Kangaroo Island and Port Wakefield

    SACES was commissioned by the Goyder Institute for Water Research to prepare Regional Impact Assessment Statements (RIAS) that assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of marine park sanctuary zones on the South Australian regional communities of Ceduna, Kangaroo Island and Port Wakefield. Sanctuary zones are high conservation areas in marine parks that provide protection for habitats and biodiversity.

    From 1 October 2014, commercial and recreational fishing was prohibited in sanctuary zones. In light of community concerns, the State Government committed to investigating the economic and social impacts of the legislation by 1st October 2015.

    The RIAS was undertaken using a mixed methods approach involving analysis of existing economic and social indicators, including commercial fisheries data; economic modelling to estimate broader flow-on economic impacts for the regions; consultations with regional stakeholders; and conduct of a community survey to gauge community attitudes. By Anthony Kosturjak, Steve Whetton, Michael O'Neil and Mark Trevithick, October 2015

  • Economic and Social Impact Study: Community and Neighbourhood Centres Sector

    Economic and Social Impact Study: Community and Neighbourhood Centres Sector

    The principle objective of this research report is to provide evidence as to the impact of community centres .

    The report finds that there were 2.1 million contacts to Community Centres in 2012 or 43,000 attendances at the centres each week. SACES has estimated that the value of up to some 5,600 volunteers contributing up to 29,000 hours of volunteering work each week was in the order of $43 million per year.

    The report finds that the value of crèche services used per year is in excess of $1.3 million and that it is these types of services that help young struggling families and migrants with children to access learning and skill development programs. October 2013.

  • Impact of Mining and Resource Development: A Case Study for Eyre Peninsula Councils

    Impact of Mining and Resource Development: A Case Study for Eyre Peninsula Councils

    This is an investigative report concerned with future mining developments on the Eyre Peninsula, about which there are many unknowns and considerable uncertainties.

    The principle objective of the report was to provide information to councils to "help them determine future population patterns" and settlement patterns and the report addresses this objective. July 2013.

  • South Australia Works Strategic Review

    South Australia Works Strategic Review - Executive Summary, Strategic Review of South Australia Works, Summary of Commonwealth Programs and Funding

    SACES was commissioned to conduct a strategic review of South Australia Works -  the State Government's collection of policies and programs designed to improve work force participation.  The Review finds that the State Government has an important role to play in delivering labour market programs.  It concludes that the principal objective of South Australia Works should be to contribute to an increase in workforce participation in order to raise participation rates, address population and demographic issues, and contribute to productivity enhancements.  A number of design principles that should underpin the future policy and implementation framework are put forward.

  • Local Governments' Current and Potential Role in Water Management and Conservation

    Local Governments' Current and Potential Role in Water Management and Conservation

    This report summarises the results of a survey into Local Government’s Current and Potential Role in Water Management and Conservation.

    The aim of the survey was to develop an accurate picture of local government’s current and potential role in pursuing strategies to better manage water resources in local and regional areas.  By Anthony Kosturjak and Michael O'Neil, April 2009.

  • Modelling What Works Well in SA Works in the Regions

    Modelling What Works Well in SA Works in the Regions

    This report is concerned with ‘learning lessons’ from selected case studies of individual employment and training projects delivered through the South Australia 'SA Works in the Region' program and the Workforce Participation Partnerships (WPP) program, an initiative of the Victorian government.

    It is part of a broader and progressive evaluation framework adopted by SA Works in the Regions; it is not an evaluation of the entire program nor are the researchers evaluating the impact of the program (i.e. the impact of the program on employment and earnings or the net effect on unemployment).  By Michael O'Neil and Anthony Kosturjak, April 2008

  • Review of Initiatives Into Workforce Re-Engagement of Long Term Disengaged Workers

    Review of Initiatives Into Workforce Re-Engagement of Long Term Disengaged Workers

    This research project represents an explanatory paper to assess whether lessons learned from transitioning the long term unemployed into sustainable employment through labour market programs, may be applicable to long term workers’ compensation beneficiaries.  By Michael O'Neil and Peter Lumb, September 2008.

  • Gross Economic Impact of the Proposed Angas Zinc Mine

    Gross Economic Impact of the Proposed Angas Zinc Mine

    SACES was commissioned by Terramin Australia to estimate the gross economic impact of the proposed Angas Zinc Mine on the wider Strathalbyn Economy.

    The mine will be located about 2 kilometres outside the rural township of Strathalbyn. It is expected to produce 319,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 122,300 tonnes of lead-copper over its seven-year life span .   This life span may be extended if further drilling reveals additional reserves in the area.

    The Strathalbyn economy is to a significant extent dependent on agriculture activities with there being little other mining activity in the region.  The mine therefore has the potential to diversify the economic base of the region.

    Download a copy of SACES's report, which provides estimates of the direct and indirect employment and gross state product generated by the mine throughout the wider Strathalbyn economy. By Jim Hancock, Anthony Kosturjak, Edwin Dewan and Michael O'Neil, August 2006.

  • Community Impacts of Electronic Gaming Machine Gambling

    Community Impacts of Electronic Gaming Machine Gambling - Part A, Part B

    This report was commissioned by the former Victorian Gambling Research Panel. It considers the community impact of EGM gambling by comparing the starkly different gambling environments that exist in Victoria and Western Australia. Victoria is characterised by widespread availability of EGMs with machines located in hotels and clubs throughout the State, whereas availability is tightly restricted in Western Australia, with EGMs being limited to a single casino site in Perth.

    The community impact of EGM gambling was analysed at both the State and regional level. Relative differences in gambling expenditure, employment levels and problem gambling were analysed at the State level. Four matched regions in each State were also identified and compared for, inter alia, differences in community attitudes, participation in gaming, the change in local clubs, visits to local GPs, and use of ATMS in hotels and clubs. Regional level data was compiled from community surveys undertaken to assess attitudes and behavioursrelevant to participating in gambling, supplemented by interviews with various stakeholders, the gambling industry, surveys of local GPs, financial counsellors and gambling counsellors .

    The report is available for download in two parts - Part A, Part B.

  • Skills and HR Audit - Heavy Industry Sector of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region

    Skills and HR Audit - Heavy Industry Sector of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region

    This report considers the demand for skills in the Heavy Industry sector of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region (USG) - comprising Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Roxby Downs. The study was commissioned by the Whyalla Economic Development Board on behalf of Global Maintenance USG Inc which comprises a group of companies specialising in heavy engineering and an array of maintenance services.

    The report outlines the demand for a skilled workforce over the period 2006 to 2010 and the demand for education and training. A labour demand estimation model was developed to provide estimates of growth in the demand for labour for the USG group of companies and for the region as a whole. The report also considers current trends in education and training effort to assess future training requirements.

    The report concludes that the major manufacturing and mineral resource processing industries in the USG will require an additional 480 trade persons and 1,800 new employees. The strong demand for skilled labour is driven by a combination of economic growth in the region, recent population growth and retirement rates for older workers.

    By Michael O'Neil and Stephen Nelson, October 2005.

  • The Evaluation of Self-Exclusion Programs - Part A - Evaluation of Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation Measures, Part B - Summary of Australian States and Territories Self-exclusion Programs and Harm

    The Evaluation of Self-Exclusion Programs - Part A - Evaluation of Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation MeasuresPart B - Summary of Australian States and Territories Self-exclusion Programs and Harm

    This report, undertaken for the Victorian Gambling Research Panel, investigated voluntary self-exclusion programs and related initiatives in Victoria and other Australian jurisdictions. The report describes the programs currently operating in Victorian clubs, pubs and casinos; considers the international literature and theoretical framework said to support self-exclusion programs; and summarises the research team’s wide-ranging consultations, interviews and surveys with stakeholders. The report also includes a comprehensive description of self-exclusion programs operating in all states and territories.

    The study found the current system of self-exclusion in Victoria is not capable of enforcing self-exclusion due to problems identifying self-excluded patrons who breach their deeds. Photographic identification at venues is problematic. Breaches are therefore commonplace and this weakness compromises the effectiveness, growth potential and credibility of the program. This is not assisted by the low level of resource commitment to the program and lack of enforceable compliance procedures within the industry itself. However, self-exclusion remains one tool to help minimise harm for some individuals trying to control their problem gambling. When supported by a range of other measures, such as appropriate clinical techniques, changes to machine design, betting limits and review of ATM locations, it is considered likely to be more effective.

    The report recommends that the Victorian Government should consider a new state-wide system of uniform identification (e.g. electronically scannable card) to access restricted gaming venues which can be enforced by individual venues and Crown Casino - this is also seen as a good way to control access by minors.

    The report is available for download in two parts:
    Part A - Evaluation of Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation Measures
    Part B - Summary of Australian States and Territories Self-exclusion Programs and Harm Minimisation Policies/Strategies

    By Michael O'Neil et al., February 2003.

  • Financing the Federation

    Financing the Federation

    This new study on the history and future of Australia's federal financial arrangements offers a timely review of issues in Australia's intergovernmental financial relations. The study was commissioned by the South Australian Department of Treasury and Finance as its contribution to the Centenary of Federation, and explores the economic implications of the current system of federal financial relations and its historical origins. By Jim Hancock and Julie Smith, September 2001.

    A press release is also available.

  • The Impact of Gaming Machines on Small Regional Economies

    The Impact of Gaming Machines on Small Regional Economies

    The study focuses on the Provincial Cities in South Australia to estimate quantitatively the overall net impact of gaming machines on regional economies.

    The report identifies using econometric analysis, those spatial and demographic factors which influence net gaming revenue. It also provides an estimate of the extent of problem gambling and the number of problem gamblers in the regions. For the Provincial Cities as a group, the report shows that the net benefit from electronic gaming machines is more likely to be in the negative, where the benefits are more than outweighed by the scale of the costs of problem gambling.

    It concludes that the net effect on employment in the Provincial Cities is very dependent on what happened with government expenditure in the regions. The report provides recommendations and suggestions for further research. By Michael O'Neil, Anthony Kosturjak and Steve Whetton, August 2001.

The Centre provides periodic Issues Papers focusing on topical economic issues to Corporate Members.

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  • 2019

    • Skilled Migration to South Australia 2010-2014: profile and employment outcomes of recent permanent and temporary migrants by Dr Andreas Cebulla and Dr George Tan
      This Economic Issues focuses on skilled migrants' employment experiences in South Australia based on an analysis of a survey of skilled migrants who were awarded permanent or temporary visas to reside in South Australia between June 2010 and December 2014. It highlights migrants' barriers to accessing employment in their nominated occupations, high levels of unemployment, underemployment and over qualification. Migrants attributed the challenges they faced in the State labour market to a slack economy and a reluctance of employers to hire people with no local work experience and with whose skills and qualification they were not familiar. September 2019.
  • 2018

    • Insights from the 2016 Census by Anthony Kosturjak
      This paper provides a high level overview of the 2016 census data for South Australia, highlighting notable trends and patterns in relation to demography, labour force, education and incomes. The main conclusion is that South Australia underperformed during the last inter-census period, experiencing unfavourable trends in terms of population ageing, relative size of the working age population, interstate migration, and labour market performance. Such trends not only have implications for public policy in terms of ensuring efficient and effective delivery of public services in respect of health and aged care services, they have implications for business in terms of sustaining access to required skills and labour resources. March 2018.
    • To Ignore Reform is to Ignore Opportunity: Creating a more effective and sustainable public sector by Michael O'Neil and Darryl Gobbett
      Based on a commissioned research consultancy from Business SA, this paper considers the size and performance of the South Australian Public Sector in a small, open economy. The authors ask the question - is there evidence to suggest that the expected requirements of the public sector are being met; evidence to suggest the community has experienced higher quality service standards; that South Australians overall enjoy greater benefits from the public sector than in other jurisdictions? February 2018.
    • Development Strategy for Reinventing South Australia by Michael O'Neil and Darryl Gobbett
      This paper is the fourth and final in a series of four Economic Issues papers that have collectively reviewed South Australia’s economic performance. This final paper explores policies for reinventing South Australia and asks the question: “What are the competitive enhancing policies South Australia must adopt to generate the wealth required to support social and community objectives and environmental development?” January 2018.
  • 2016

    • EFTPOS In Gaming Areas: Wrong Way - Go Back! by Michael O'Neil
      Michael O'Neil considers the merits of an amendment to the South Australian Gaming Machine Act 1992 to remove the prohibition on EFTPOS facilities in gaming areas in hotels and clubs. Consideration is given to the experience of the Victorian Government and industry response to the removal of ATMs from hotels and clubs in that state. The analysis also takes into account evidence from the Productivity Commission's 2010 Gambling report, from the most recent South Australia Gambling Prevalence Survey, and findings from the review of the removal of ATMs from Victorian hotels and clubs. The author concludes that the amendment to permit EFTPOS facilities in gaming areas is not supported by the available evidence, and contradicts recommendations made by other researchers. April 2016.
    • The Aged Structure of the Population and Economic Growth - Does it Matter? by Michael O'Neil and Lauren Kaye
      In this paper the authors investigate the age distribution of the South Australian population and ask what does it imply for public policy, for the labour force, employment and gross state product. Shifts in the employment to population ratio, including by gender, and higher dependency ratios provide important insights into policy challenges facing South Australia including a consistent and unwavering policy emphasis on skills formation and training, increasing the labour force participation rate and the need to re-think and develop the strategic capacity of local government to partner with state and federal government. February 2016.
    • The Regulatory Load in South Australia and Impact on Economic Activity by Darryl Gobbett, Michael O'Neil and Steve Whetton 
      This paper is the third of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to historical developments and more recent history. In this paper the authors consider the impact of regulation and industry support policies on economic activity and our search for global competitiveness. It also looks in some detail at a comparative analysis of South Australia with the other States as to how efficiently the State public sector appears to operate. February 2016.
  • 2015

    • Where Do We Go From Here? South Australia's Economic Prospects Going Forward and the Role of Government by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton, Darryl Gobbett and Christopher Findlay
      This paper is the second of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to historical developments and more recent history, including a pointer to sustainable comparative advantages (EIP No. 44). This second paper examines the prospects for growth through a more detailed examination of the state's manufacturing sector including the role that the state government can play in assisting the potential to be realised. Two further Issues Papers will examine regulation and industry policy and a consideration of policy responses to reinvigorate this state's economy. July 2015.
    • Should South Australians Really be "Down in the Mouth"? Macroeconomic Performance by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton, Darryl Gobbett and Christopher Findlay
      This paper is the first of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to historical developments and more recent history, including a pointer to sustainable comparative advantages. This paper sets the scene by providing a review of the state's macroeconomic performance over the last two decades. June 2015.
    • Exceeding the Speed Limit: How Excessive Speeding Fines May Undermine Community Engagement with Government Road Safety Policies by Michael O'Neil and Lauren Kaye
      This paper considers the public discussion on speeding fines and the contribution of road traffic fines in reducing road fatalities. Penalties of this nature have a role to play as does driver training, driver behaviour and attitude to road safety, although on-board car safety features and improvement to the quality of our roads are also significant contributors to road safety. It is well to remember that reinforcement or reward is much more likely to lead to sustainable changes in behaviour than punishment. It is argued that an over-emphasis on traffic policing through the use of fines reinforces the public perception of revenue raising; potentially dilutes the road safety message; and diminishes the authority of government. June 2015.
  • 2014

    • Structural Change: Lessons from Port Augusta's Experience in the 1990s by Michael O'Neil
      This paper draws from a case study of structural adjustment that Port Augusta experienced in the period 1986 to 1996. Like communities that have been dependent on the spatial concentration of the automotive industry, Port Augusta too was dependent on employment and specialisation, but in the rail and power industries. Historical experience demonstrates that adjustment pressures are on-going - how we respond to them is critical to the take-up of new opportunities, employment growth, incomes and exports. Much greater attention and investment in human capital is essential to speed up the transformation of the South Australian economy. July 2014.
    • The Labour Market, Competitiveness, Employment and Economic Prospects by Michael O'Neil, Lauren Kaye and Mark Trevithick
      This paper commences a series of papers on the international competitiveness of the South Australian economy with an overview of long-term trends in the labour market (and a reference to upgrading our skills and training system), an assessment of the competitiveness of industry sectors and trends and prospects in industry. June 2014.
  • 2013

    • Providing Local Economic Stimulus and Promoting Local Economic Development: Possibilities for Councils in South Australia by Michael O'Neil, Cliff Walsh, Anthony Kosturjak and Mark Trevithick
      This paper contains discussion on the theme of local and regional economic development with a particular focus on the role and importance of local government in local, regional and state-wide economic development. Promoting local and regional economic development is integral to the objective of community development; international best practice confirms the importance of "bottoms-up partnerships" involving the community and business leaders in mobilising and strengthening local assets and consistently applying long-term economic development strategies. October 2013.
    • The Task of Strengthening Regional Development by Michael O'Neil
      This paper continues the examination of best practice and new approaches to regional development, where the task of strengthening regional development commences with regions themselves taking the lead role. New understanding (and theory) of regional growth emphasises the importance of local actors and local institutions including that on average, two thirds of business investment comes from already established businesses in the region. "Bottom-up" strategies are critical to the development process; local government has a key role in establishing tripartite partnerships to promote long-term, economic development plans and strategies. September 2013.
    • Localism: Learning from Federal Nation Building (Economic Stimulus) Projects by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton and Suraya Abdul Halim
      This paper reviews the evaluations and findings of a number of Federal Nation Building economic stimulus projects with a particular emphasis on the question as to whether some projects could have been better administered and more effectively delivered through local government. What lessons can be learnt from the post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) experience? September 2013.
    • Re-Thinking Social Policy: Place-Shaped As Well As People-Focused by Cliff Walsh and Michael O'Neil
      This paper takes up the theme of Re-thinking Social Policy, building on an earlier issues paper on Re-Thinking the Approach to Regional Development. It argues that place as well as people focused social policy is similar in many respects to what is called place-based regional policy. Building the capacity of communities in which government plays a supportive role, not controlling role, is critical to addressing the situation of disadvantaged people and communities (i.e. places and people) and is a platform for regional growth and development. May 2013.
    • South Australian Centre for Economic Studies: 30 Year Anniversary - speeches by Gary Banks AO and Gary Sturgess AM.
      On Friday 22 March 2013 the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies held a business luncheon to thank those who have supported SACES since its establishment in 1982. The luncheon featured presentations by Professors Gary Banks AO and Gary Sturgess AM, who were tasked with addressing the theme of ‘Public Administration and Public Policy: Challenges in the C21st’. This issues paper provides copies of their speeches titled Public Policy in the 21st Century: Remembrance of Things Past and Diversity and Contestability in the Public Service Economy, respectively. April 2013.
    • Is Adelaide a University City? by Michael O'Neil and Mark Trevithick
      This paper examines the public policy that is intended to contribute to Adelaide becoming a university city. It does so through defining the characteristics of a university city and sets these characteristics as the benchmark to assess the direction of public policy. Attracting international students and international universities does make a contribution to "Adelaide as a Vibrant City", along with the existing campuses of our three universities. But the critical characteristics that lead to sustainable economic growth are research quality, internationally recognised researchers, the commercialisation of research and the start-up of high technology firms. The number of high technology firms and associated employment are closely linked to world-leading research, the efforts of internationally recognised researchers, knowledge transfers and relational networks. These are the key indicators of a university city. April 2013.
  • 2011

    • Assisting Regions and Communities to Cope with Structural Change: Context, Objectives, Principles and Good Practice by Cliff Walsh and Michael O'Neil
      In this paper, Emeritus Professor Cliff Walsh and Associate Professor Michael O’Neil consider structural change and the adjustment pressures that regions experience. The principal purpose of the paper is to develop: an overarching framework within which structural adjustment issues can be appropriately considered; a statement of general principles of guiding whether, when and how it is appropriate for government to assist regions to cope with structural adjustment pressures, whatever their source; and a set of good-practice principles to appropriately shape the practical design and implementation of regional structural adjustment assistance where it is offered. August 2011.
    • The Economic Consequences of the Euro by Dr Colin Rogers
      This paper considers the current economic crisis in Greece and argues that the governance structure of the Euro is exacerbating the crisis with the potential to turn what is a liquidity crisis (following the flight of private capital) into a solvency crisis. The inability to use state-backed money requires the European Central Bank to fulfil its role as a central bank and accept responsibility for the solvency of member countries. The paper argues that current policy responses are the polar opposite of what is required. July 2011.
    • Banking Competition: The Rhetoric and the Reality by Dr Penny Neal
      The decision by the major Australian banks to raise home loan interest rates by substantially more than the increase in the Reserve Bank's cash rate in November 2010 caused widespread outrage across the community.  The aim of this paper is to take a balanced view and look behind the rhetoric and populist responses engendered by the backlash against the major banks to examine whether the Australian banking sector has become less competitive post the Global Financial Crisis. The paper also seeks to critically assess the policy responses that have been proposed.  A major conclusion of this paper is that policy responses to support access by the regional banks and the mutual sector to the securitisation and wholesale markets are key to driving competition in the banking sector. May 2011.
    • South Australian Labour Markets: 2000 to 2010 by Mark Trevithick and Michael O'Neil
      A previous Issues Paper which considered trends in the South Australian labour market through the 1990s revealed a poorly performing and stagnant labour market. This paper provides a ‘snapshot perspective’ of the South Australian labour market for the most recent decade and considers the performance of the labour market relative to the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2010 labour market conditions improved, driven by stronger economic conditions, led by growth of the defence and mining industries which generated new employment across a wide range of occupations.  Significant challenges affecting the state’s labour market still remain, including the on-going decline of employment in manufacturing, skills shortages in some service industries and the ageing of the workforce. The paper concludes by offering some suggestions for further research into the South Australian labour market. February 2011.
    • Migration Trends in South Australia by Mark Trevithick
      This Issues Paper analyses recent migration patterns to South Australia over the period 1998/99 to 2008/09.  Net overseas migration was well above the long-term trend during this period.  Permanent skilled migration experienced the strongest increase providing much of the growth in net overseas migration.  The introduction of the Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa in 2004 can explain a portion of the rise in skilled migration, encouraging more migrants to settle in designated low population growth areas such as South Australia.  The paper presents data showing recent growth in migration numbers, including by migration stream and visa type, and provides commentary on some of the causes. January 2011.
    • Decline and Rejuvenation: The Provincial Cities of South Australia by Michael O'Neil, Mark Trevithick, Daisy McGregor and Antony Pietsch
      This paper considers the economic and social rejuvenation of the Provincial Cities of South Australia during the first decade of the 21st Century, and the challenges to maintaining sustainable growth and competitiveness.  The analysis confirms that the economic decline which was observed across the Provincial Cities during the 1980s and 1990s had come to a halt by 2001, with rejuvenation strengthening through the middle part of the decade.  The authors argue that while there has been investment and diversification of employment into new industries, this has not been matched by new vocational and post-secondary infrastructure to raise the skill level of regional populations.  More broadly, there is a need for better planning and identification for regional priorities. January 2011.
  • 2010

    • Re-Thinking the Approach to Regional Development in South Australia by Michael O'Neil and Cliff Walsh
      The authors of this paper contend that regional development in South Australia is an agenda without a policy framework or strategy.  South Australia's economic, social and environmental progress depend entirely on the performance of all of its regions - there is no meaningful sense in which "the State" transcends the sum of its regional components.  However, the State Government has no overarching regional development strategy and the public sector has tended to engage in tops-down "regionalisation" not "regionalism".  This is clearly reflected in a State Strategic Plan that has only one region-specific target and then only for rural and remote regions.  This is all the more disappointing given that more than a decade ago a Task Force on Regional Development in SA proposed strategies that were at the forefront of modern thinking about promoting regional development.  The authors consequently argue that South Australia urgently needs a new commitment to regional development and a new strategy in which the state government facilitates and supports regions to develop aspirations and plans for themselves for their economic, social and environmental development and also develops partnerships which "democratise" decision-making through engagement, consultation and negotiation with regional communities.  December 2010.
    • Identifying the Main Economic Issues Facing the South Australian Wine Industry by Dr Nicola Chandler
      This paper considers the views and opinions of those in the wine industry, combines these insights with an historical perspective and data/trends on the wine industry to identify the main economic issues facing the wine industry in South Australia.  A look back at historical developments in the wine industry indicates that current challenges - most notably those resulting from over-production and a decline in product prices - have been evident at various stages in the past.  Lessons from these cyclical patterns include that prices are the natural control mechanism, that global fluctuations will continue to occur, but that the high standard of the product and marketing have contributed to the strengths of the industry.  April 2010.
  • 2009

    • Nuclear Power in Southeast Asia: Implications for Australia and Non-Proliferation by Andrew Symon
      This paper, which was presented to the Lowy Institute for International Policy in April 2008, has been reprinted with permission in the honour of the late Andrew Symon, who was a Research Associate of the Centre. The paper explores the growing interest in nuclear power in Southeast Asia, and consequential questions regarding economics and safety, as well as nuclear weapons non-proliferation. Given Australia's role as a major supplier of uranium, proximity to the region and interests in non-proliferation and safety, the development of nuclear power in Southeast Asia has direct implications for Australian interests and policy.  April 2009.
    • The Global Economic Crisis of 2008: Some Thoughts on Causes and Remedies by Dr Colin Rogers
      In this paper, Associate Professor Colin Rogers provides a synopsis of the origins of the global economic crisis of 2008, before going on to provide his thoughts on what has gone wrong with monetary and finance theory and how these failings have led to failings in policy and regulation through the political process.  It is his contention that the fundamental cause of the global crisis can be traced to failings in the theory of money and finance.  January 2009.
    • Assisting Injured Workers Return to Work: The Economy Needs You! by Michael O'Neil and Peter Lumb
      This paper summarises a larger report addressing the potential contribution of active labour market programs in assisting injured and recovering workers return to the workforce.  
      The paper argues that there are valuable lessons to be learnt from the way in which many successful labour market programs are able to transition the long term unemployed into sustainable employment and that these lessons are applicable to long term workers' compensation recipients.  Key principles for the design of assistance programs are identified.  January 2009.
  • 2008

    • A Review of the Literature on Active Labour Market Policies by Michael O'Neil and Dr Penny Neal
      There is no single optimal labour market program. This is no better illustrated than the change in objectives in labour market programs from the 1970s and 1980s when unemployment was high due to insufficient aggregate demand for labour, to today's world where the demand for skilled labour continues to outstrip supply. Welfare assistance measures including systems of income support are purposefully designed to support active labour market programs. The paper considers several principles in the design of effective labour market assistance measures and ‘some of the lessons learned' from the more successful individual projects funded by various state governments. One key lesson is that local employers and local industry have a significant role to play in the design (and hence successful outcome) of active labour market policies and programs. June 2008.
    • Self Managed Superannuation Funds: Some Public Policy Issues Regarding their "Decumulation" Phase by Owen Covick
      Associate Professor Owen Covick argues that several factors will lead to a substantial growth in the quantum of monies in decumulation phase Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) in Australia.  This raises the question: what if the ageing process, or the death of the "prime mover" member of a more-than-one-member decumulation phase SMSF allows an SMSF to "drift on", past the point at which it would have been in the best interests of the vehicle's members to wind it up and either rollover into an APRA regulated vehicle, or take the remaining funds outside the superannuation system?  
      The author argues that this should be viewed as a public policy issue and not simply as a problem for the individual SMSF members directly concerned, and should be tackled now before the number of persons directly affected by the problem swells to significant proportions.  Suggestions for ways of addressing this problem are put forward. April 2008
  • 2007

    • Australia's Productivity Growth in the 21st Century by Dean Parham
      This Issues Paper presents the visual materials used by Dean Parham of the Productivity Commission in his presentation to the School of Economics (University of Adelaide) and other invited guests on 24th August 2007.  In his presentation, Dean discussed the historical comparative performance of Australia's productivity growth including the underlying causes of particular trends.  He concluded by considering the outlook for Australia's productivity growth and the touchstones for productivity growth going forwards. September 2007
    • Building a Local Defence Industry: Workforce Requirements 2006 - 2010 by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton and Edwin Dewan
      This paper presents an overview of recent research undertaken by the Centre in relation to identifying and quantifying current workforce capabilities and workforce requirements for the South Australian Defence Industry.  The paper has three components. The first provides a brief snapshot of planned expenditure within the defence sector outlined in the Commonwealth’s Defence Capability Plan out to 2016.  The plan includes annual expenditure on new projects as well as on-going service and sustainability of defence capability.  The second component examines current employment in major defence contracting companies in South Australia, their first and second tier suppliers and growth projections out to 2010.  In the final part, the potential labour supply to the defence sector from tertiary education providers is discussed, concluding with a consideration of issues relevant to workforce planning and future challenges for South Australia. March 2007
    • Running on Empty: The Risk of Continuing to Dither While the Empty Light is Flashing by Peter Cullen
      In this Issues Paper, Professor Peter Cullen argues that we need to take urgent action to address growing water shortages.  A range of climatic data indicates that the Australian climate has been drying out over the past decade, while historical data suggests that the period from 1960 to the early 1990s may have been unusually wet in South Eastern Australia. This suggests we may face a future with less rainfall, which will require adjustment that may be painful and difficult, particularly for agriculture. Fortunately there is an agreed national blueprint for dealing with these challenges in the form of the National Water Initiative. The NWI includes a range of practical and sensible actions to improve water management and address the scarcity of water resources. However, Professor Cullen is critical of the inactivity by governments on implementing the NWI, which can be attributed to various interest groups successfully resisting the necessary changes required. January 2007.
  • 2006

    • South Australia's Recent Productivity Performance by Jim Hancock and Wing Hsieh
      It is well known that the South Australian economy has not grown as rapidly as the Australian economy as a whole over the last decade. It is also known that differences in labour productivity trends do not explain much of the differential in growth rates. This study investigates the contribution to output growth from changes in labour quality, the capital intensity of the economy, and multifactor productivity. The analysis strongly reinforces the argument that differences between South Australian and national output growth over the last decade lie entirely in a more rapid expansion of the scale of the national economy. April 2006
    • Mining the Labour Market: The Estimated Demand for Labour in the SA Mining Sector 2006-2014 by Michael O'Neil and Paul Huntley 
      This paper presents a summary of commissioned research undertaken by the Centre on behalf of the State Government, for the purpose of estimating the additional labour requirements due to the planned expansion of mining in this State. The paper outlines the size of the mining industry in economic terms, describes the survey and estimation methodology used to quantify the labour requirements, and reports the estimated demand in the mining sector by occupational group. The significance of estimated labour requirements in the context of current labour market conditions is also considered. April 2006.
  • 2005

    • Australia's New Trade Agreements: Beneficial Liberalisation or Harmful Policy? by Andrew Symon
      This Issues Paper canvasses bilateral and regional trade negotiations which are now at the centre of Australian trade policy. The recent US-Australia trade agreement and the prospect of an Australia-China agreement are briefly examined. Consideration is given to the relative merits of pursuing freer trade through regional trade agreements rather than through a multilateral approach under the World Trade Organisation. Given that regional trade agreements increasingly cover a broader range of policy areas that cut across the jurisdictions of different levels of government, such as government procurement, investment, competition policy, standards, intellectual property, and services trade, it is concluded that national parliament and state governments should arguably play a greater role in the initiating, negotiation and approval of Australia’s trade agreements. November 2005.
    • Wind Generation and the South Australian Economy by Stephen Nelson
      With the Federal Government having implemented the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) to reduce greenhouse emissions, there has been rapid growth of wind farm capacity in South Australia over recent years. This paper presents a discussion of issues arising in connection with wind farms, with particular reference to the South Australian economy. The author finds that while wind farms will bring about a reduction in carbon emissions, this needs to be balanced off against other, potentially less beneficial consequences such as the impact on our existing electricity infrastructure, the effect on future investment levels, and the potential impact of higher energy prices on our industrial sector. April 2005.
    • South Australia's Overseas Exports by Paul Huntley
      This paper discusses South Australia's recent export performance. The State has become significantly more export-oriented over the last decade and a half. In 2003-04, 17 per cent of Gross State Product was derived from overseas exports of goods and services - a historically above average level. In recent years, our export destinations have diversified, with a rising share going to the United States and Europe, meaning the State economy is arguably better placed to ride out an economic downturn in any one region. However, while the overall picture is encouraging, the author cautions that State exports are concentrated in two industries - wine and motor vehicles - and any slumps in global demand for their products would have a severe impact on the State economy. March 2005.
  • 2004

    • The 2004-05 South Australian Budget by Jim Hancock
      This Paper presents an analysis of the 2004-05 South Australian Budget. It looks at how changes in the economic environment have affected the Budget, how the government has changed its revenue and expenditure policies, and medium term directions in fiscal policy. The author cautions that recent positive surprises on the revenue side need to be seen as something of a lucky break, and that funds for new spending initiatives or unanticipated cost pressures will be harder to find over the next two years. July 2004.
    • The Relative Decline of Manufacturing Employment in South Australia by Anthony Kosturjak and Joshua Wilson-Smith
      This Issues Paper considers employment outcomes for the South Australian manufacturing sector since 1986. In brief, the paper finds that while employment in the South Australian manufacturing sector has fallen sharply since 1986, its performance is not atypical among the traditional manufacturing States. While the 1990 recession clearly had a significant negative impact on the manufacturing sector, the authors believe that other longer-term factors are more significant in driving the fall in employment. These include a shift in consumer spending patterns towards services (associated with rising incomes), labour displacing technological change, and reductions in protection and subsidies combined with greater competition from imports. The policy implications of recent trends in manufacturing employment are also briefly considered. July 2004.
    • An Ageing Australia: Small Beer or Big Bucks? by Gary Banks
      In this Issues Paper Gary Banks argues that ageing does not represent a crisis for Australia. That most of the population live to be old is one of the great successes of modern economies. But an ageing population will have profound consequences for the economy that will require careful policy responses. This article examines two of these consequences: impacts on labour supply, including its implications for future economic growth, and on health spending, the most important age-sensitive component of government expenditure. May 2004.
    • Enhancing Trust in Australia’s Tax System by Owen Covick
      In this Issues Paper the Author argues that Australia is divided into two nations as far as personal income taxation is concerned. Members of families in which most incomes comes from supplying labour services as employees to arms-length employers are subject to a much tighter “attribution” regime than are members of families in which income from family-controlled entities is the major income source. The former are less able to allocate income across members of their family unit in a way which minimises the tax payable by the family unit as a whole. This division has consequences which are typically regarded as undesirable: it is horizontally inequitable, vertically inequitable, and allocatively inefficient. In considering possible remedies, the author argues that the best alternative would be to extend to arms-length wage-and-salary-earner households a capacity to establish “quasi-trusts” enabling them to allocate income across the family unit in a manner equivalent to that used by families deriving their income via family businesses. April 2004.
    • Inquiry into the Management of Electronic Gaming Machine Numbers by Michael O’Neil and Steve Whetton
      In 2002-03 the South Australian Independent Gambling Authority conducted an inquiry into the management of gaming machine numbers. This Issues Paper summarises a supplementary submission to the inquiry that was prepared by the Centre at the request of the Provincial Cities Association of South Australia. The principal aims of the submission were to canvass options for the management of EGMs, identify potential harm minimisation measures, and put forward the case for a reduction in gaming machine numbers in non-metropolitan South Australia to ensure greater equality in the spatial allocation of machines. Comments on other written submissions and the history of the management of gaming machine numbers were also provided. April 2004.
    • Review of the South Australian Economy, 1990-2003 by Michael O’Neil, Penny Neal and Anh Thu Nguyen.
      This Issues Paper presents a review of the performance of the South Australian economy since 1990. While noting that South Australia's economic performance has been more subdued in comparison with the national economy since 1990 it reports on the solid performance of several sectors of the local economy. Economic policies over the medium term to support the faster growing services sector and to increase exports are the most likely to contribute to economic growth, accompanied by policies to sustain stronger population growth. March 2004.
    • Darwin: A Gateway to Asia? by Andrew Symon
      This Issues Paper considers the implications of the Adelaide-Darwin Railway and Port of Darwin developments for Australian international and interstate transport patterns. While the author concludes that developing an international trade route via the railway and port will present a significant challenge, the prospects for domestic freight are found to be more promising. Immediate cost and time benefits over truck haulage and expected strong growth in domestic demand in the Northern Territory, taken together, suggest that the extended railway will help to further integrate the Territory and South Australian economies. March 2004.
  • 2003

    • Innovation Activity and Income Levels: A Summary of Indicators by Jim Hancock, Marianne Herbert and Steve Whetton
      This report presents simple indicators of innovation activity and incomes in the Australian States and Territories, and in the regions of the United States, Canada and Germany. The objective is to explore whether there is a within-country correlation between innovation and income levels. It is concluded that there is a significant positive correlation between innovation activity and average earnings in the United States. 
      While the Australian data is tentatively suggestive of such a correlation, no strong conclusions are possible because the number of States with which to form a cross section is so small. April 2003.
    • The SA Labour Market Through the 1990s by Anthony Kosturjak
      This Issues Paper summarises major trends in the South Australian labour market over the 1990s in order to assess the performance of the labour market in light of the 1990 recession and the collapse of the State Bank – two events which had a substantial impact on the labour market during the early part of the decade. The defining characteristics of the labour force over this period have been a poor record of generating new jobs and a persistently higher level of unemployment which are due largely to the weakness of the South Australian economy. Other interesting trends include the concentration of employment growth among females and part-time employment; decline in aggregate male and full-time employment; a fall in the participation of males in the work force; a rise in the relative and aggregate number of long-term unemployed and the average duration of unemployment; and ageing of the labour force. February 2003.
  • 2002

    • The 2002-03 Commonwealth Budget by Owen Covick
      This paper presents an analysis of the 2002-03 Commonwealth Budget. It finds that the stance of Commonwealth government fiscal policy has shifted away from the expansionary stimulus of the second term of the Howard-Costello Government and that "Mr Costello has taken his foot off the accelerator and pressed it onto the footbrake - as far as overall Budgetary policy is concerned". The study argues that a shift towards fiscal consolidation is sensible and appropriate in Australia's current overall economic circumstances. Nevertheless, the author raises concern that the partial embrace of an accruals accounting framework has produced a decline in the transparency of the budget. A shift away from clarity and navigability of the budget has been compounded by the Treasurer's continued denial that the GST is a Commonwealth tax. This outcome makes it difficult to determine whether the introduction of A New Tax System has produced no increase in the overall tax burden as was promised by the Federal Government. August 2002.
    • An Assessment of the Impact of Gaming Machines on Small Regional Economies by Michael O'Neil and Steve Whetton
      This Issues Paper summarises results of a study designed to identify the economic and social impacts of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in the council areas that are members of the Provincial Cities Association of South Australia. The study finds that per adult EGM expenditures are above average in the Provincial Cities. The Centre also estimates that there is a higher prevalence of problem gamblers in the Provincial Cities than for the State as a whole, and that the aggregate net economic and social impact of gaming machines for the Provincial Cities is negative. The higher EGM spending in the Provincial Cities, and differences between the individual Cities, appear to be largely explained by both a higher prevalence of EGMs in the Provincial Cities and by socio-demographic factors, especially the regional unemployment rate, the proportion of persons identifying as Aboriginal and the proportion of dwellings rented from the SA Housing Trust. The higher prevalence of problem gamblers cannot be so confidently explained, but it is likely to be significantly influenced by these same 'risk factors', amongst others. May 2002.
  • 2001

    • Timor Sea Natural Gas Development: Still in Embryo by Andrew Symon
      This paper provides a description of the extent of gas reserves in the Timor Sea and of the various projects currently planned or proposed. Development of the Timor Sea gas reserves is, however, at an embryonic stage. Plans are ambitious and their progress to reality is likely to take several years at least. Nevertheless, world demand for natural gas over the long term is expected to be strong and sustained, so that the prospect of major investment in the Timor Sea proceeding is high. The scale of the possible development is such that it is likely to have a major impact on the economy of the Northern Territory, while also contributing significantly to the growth of the Australian economy. August 2001.
    • The 2001-02 South Australian Budget by Jim Hancock
      This paper presents an analysis of the 2001-02 South Australian Budget. It finds that the Budget is in approximate cash balance but on an accrual basis has fallen well short of the Government's intended outcomes as set out in its Financial Plan of 1998-99. The bottom line is that South Australia's budgetary position remains fragile and under considerable stress. This is evident in a relatively weak balance sheet position relative to other States. South Australia has a per capita net financial worth which is well below average. August 2001.

    Other articles addressing special topics from earlier Breifing Reports are also available for download:

The Centre has been involved in publishing the following books:

  • Policies to Boost Australian Saving: How? and Why? (2002), edited by Owen Covick. The aim of this book is to bring together fairly the different interpretations of facts and of 'economic' behaviour that make up the policy debate over national saving in Australia.
  • Financing the Federation (2001), by Jim Hancock and Julie Smith. A study of the history and contemporary practice of Commonwealth-State grants, with a consideration of theoretical principles to guide future arrangements.
  • Essays on Regional Economic Development. (2001). A summary of contemporary thought on the factors affecting regional growth performance, with particular reference to South Australia.
  • The Economic Impact of Climate Change Policy on South Australia. (1998). Economic implications of international climate change policy.
  • South Australian Manufacturing in Transition. (1990). A series of case studies on manufacturing industry performance over the 1980s.
  • The Adelaide Grand Prix - The Impact of a Special Event. (1986). A social and economic cost-benefit study of the first Australian Grand Prix, covering tourism expenditures, impacts of noise, effects on public service deliveries etc.: this book continues to sell internationally.
  • The Economics of Bushfires - The South Australian Experience. (1985). A study of the 1983 bushfires, including industry impacts, reparation expenditure, and the functioning of the insurance sector.

The Centre also contributed to, and Cliff Walsh was co-editor of, Budgetary Stress: The South Australian Experience (1989), analysing reform options for the South Australian public sector.

Darryl Gobbett, Visiting Fellow at SACES, made this presentation at the Mayors' Summit for Jobs Growth at the Adelaide Town Hall on 7 August 2015. The summit was called by the Adelaide Lord Mayor and the Local Government Association of South Australia. In his presentation Darryl considered the environment for jobs and economic development in South Australia, including recent changes in the state's labour market, discussed the importance of value chains and human capital, regional primary economic drivers, and suggested possible paths for action on jobs.

The Centre's Executive Director, Assoc Professor Michael O'Neil, presented this paper to the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) National Provider Forum, Melbourne (8-9 June). Given the findings of the ABS/OECD international survey on language, literacy and numeracy - in South Australia some 480,000 adults of working age have prose literacy of level 1 or 2 when level 3 is the required functional level to read books, newspapers and magazines - the LLNP initiative is important in raising the basic skill level of the workforce. LLNP and the WELL program are key components of the Commonwealth's building foundation skills initiative.

Research resources

Gambling

The Centre has expertise in analysing the economic and social impact of gambling activities, particularly electronic gaming machines, having undertaken numerous studies for Federal and State government departments and agencies, and regional development organisations.

Gambling resources