Release type: Media Release


Education boosts the economy and jobs


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Education
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion

The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, today said that while the Opposition plots to slash education spending, independent modelling undertaken by Econtech, part of KPMG Australia, shows that achieving the Australian Government’s education and employment reform goals will boost jobs and the economy.

The independent report says that lifting the skills and qualification levels of Australians and providing greater help for working families, which the Rudd Government’s policies in education, training and employment are now doing, could help support more than an additional 500,000 jobs a year and boost the economy by around $4,000 per person each year, on average, between 2010 and 2040.

Ms Gillard said that the report makes it clear that a vote for Tony Abbott not only risks our kids’ education, but it also risks Australia’s economy and job prospects for working Australians.

Mr Abbott’s savage cuts to education would leave Australians worse off for years to come.

The report bases its estimates on achieving the Government’s targets for improved learning and employment outcomes across all sectors of Australian society – from early childhood through to retirement.

Econtech modelled the impact on the economy and employment of achieving:

  • outcomes from early childhood programs equivalent to international best practice;
  • a Year 12 attainment rate of 90% by 2015;
  • increasing the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds with a Bachelor degree or above to 40% by 2025, and halving the proportion of 20-64 year olds without Certificate III or above;
  • an increase in the Child Care Rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent from July 2008; and
  • paid parental leave.

The report estimates that to 2040, the Australian Government’s early childhood reforms could generate up to an additional average annual gain to the economy of around $9.9 billion and an increase in employment of 1.1 per cent.

Econtech estimates that if we can lift the number of kids completing year 12 this could generate to 2040 an average increase of 0.4% to employment; and an additional average annual gain to the economy of around $11.3 billion.

Achieving higher education and vocational education targets could generate up to around an extra $50 billion output in the Australian economy every year on average for the next 30 years, or $1850 per person. Up to around 181,000 additional jobs could be generated each year on average over the period.

The modelling was done before the 2010-11 Budget but Econtech says the child care rebate changes should not have a material effect on its estimated GDP benefits. It estimated that the increase in the Child Care Rebate could result in around 23,500 more jobs each year on average to 2040.

Finally, Econtech’s analysis shows that the Australian Government’s fully funded 18-week maternity leave scheme could result in an additional 126,000 jobs each year on average to 2040 and an additional $1200 per person.

The Rudd Government has laid the foundations for a prosperous economy for all Australians through landmark reforms of our education system.

This report makes it clear that the Government’s goals will make a real difference not only to those Australians who benefit from better educational opportunities but also to the economy as a whole.

Mr Abbott’s plans to cut spending on the computers in school program, the Trades Training Centres and the programs to improve teacher quality show he is a risk to our national prosperity.