In a piece for The Age, Sam Hurley, a Policy Analyst with the Centre for Policy Development, has suggested that the Intergenerational Report ‘is a perfect opportunity for the government to do something truly unprecedented: to frame a conversation about our intergenerational wellbeing and long-term policy priorities that is not tailored to the politics of now.’
His piece suggests the current dominant metrics (such as long-term demographic and fiscal trends), though certainly valuable, give us only a partial insight into what will underpin intergenerational wellbeing.
A decade ago we were world leaders in measuring wellbeing, he suggests. But the ABS Measures of Australia’s Progress has been de-funded, and the National Sustainability Council has been scrapped. ‘Meaningful discussion of the intergenerational impacts of climate change has been systematically purged from our political discourse,’ he writes.
A focus on the ‘debt and deficits’ narrative will equate neither to a near-term budget breakthrough nor better long-term policy outcomes. The discussion needs to broaden. It needs to include human, social and environmental capital as relevant factors.