A big year for CPD – Add your voice to ours!

It has been a big year for progressive politics and a big year for CPD. Take a look below at what we have been up to in recent months – providing an alternative blueprint for refugee policy, ideas for protecting our ocean wealth and evidence of the need to base public service reform on reality not rhetoric.

Given the complex challenges we face, our hopes for a better world can’t be distilled into a tweet, placard or media sound bite. But we do need more than a shopping list of criticisms if we are to create lasting change.

What if we were all ready to treat the next crisis as an opportunity to build support for progressive policies? Wouldn’t it be great if grassroots movements like Occupy were armed with a coherent and transformative policy agenda to deal with the root causes of the problems they highlight?

That’s where the work of the Centre for Policy Development comes in. We translate the desire for a fair, sustainable and democratic society into well-researched, viable ideas for change.

REFUGEE POLICY | A pathway beyond today’s toxic politics
Asylum seekers continue to suffer unnecessarily because their lives are the subject of political point-scoring by both major parties. Recent improvements in domestic policy were reached via the worst possible route.

Stepping back from the heated political debate, the authors of our recent report, A New Approach: Breaking the Stalemate on Refugees & Asylum Seekers, provide a comprehensive critique of our current policies and map out a politically viable pathway to fairer and more practical alternatives.

Our report was endorsed by 34 prominent Australians, including Heather Ridout from the Australian Industry Group, Ged Kearney from the ACTU and National Australia Bank chair Michael Chaney. We gained much media attention, and the chapter on detention policy became the focus of a GetUp! campaign.


SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY | Our ocean wealth at risk
In a world of increased competition for resources and rising environmental threats, it makes sense for Australia to protect the oceans we love and the marine resources that sustain jobs in tourism and fishing. Yet policies being developed for Australia’s Commonwealth marine areas are in danger of ignoring much of the economic value they provide.

Our groundbreaking report, Stocking Up: Securing Our Marine Economy found that Australia needs to act now to secure $25 billion a year in essential ecosystem services, along with 9,000 direct jobs in commercial fishing and a marine tourism industry worth $11 billion per year.

We got the attention of the politicians and decision makers with these numbers. Stocking Up was launched with support from Labor, Liberal and Greens politicians at Parliament House. We received a lot of media coverage and our ideas were taken up by environment groups campaigning to save our marine life.

Stocking Up showed how we can manage the long-term risks that climate change, pollution and rising fuel prices pose to our marine economy. With decisions being made now on the size and placement of Commonwealth marine parks, the next challenge is to make sure long-term value is not trumped by short-term thinking.


PUBLIC SERVICE | Moving past the public service bashing
Given the complex problems Australia faces we need a capable public service more than ever. Yet public debate on the public service is locked into an evidence-free slanging match between the politicians about who has the biggest axe and who will return the budget to surplus the fastest.

Our State of the Australian Public Service: An Alternative Report provides a critical and independent analysis of public service staffing, funding and community attitudes. We expose the myth of a bloated public service and show how to track citizens’ real views on how public sector agencies are performing over time. Our report kick-started a public discussion on the future of our public service – in the media, in Parliament, and through roundtables (conversations) held in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s vision includes sacking 12,000 public servants and wiping out entire departments. A more informed debate is crucial if the public sector is to maintain and improve its capacity to meet the public’s needs.