Impact - Grattan Institute

Grattan’s impact

Our work has had a significant impact on a wide sweep of public policies.

Budget policy


Health and aged care

  • After receiving the ‘Strengthening Medicare’ taskforce report, Health Minister Mark Butler announced that the government would change the way GPs are paid, as we recommended in A new Medicare.


Energy and climate change

  • The Federal Government has strengthened the so-called Safeguard Mechanism to reduce industrial emissions, in keeping with our recommendations on how Australia can get on the path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. See our Towards net zero series of five reports in 2021.

  • Grattan has argued for reform of the so-called Safeguard Mechanism since 2016. Our reports Climate phoenix (2016), Towards net zero (2021), and The next industrial revolution (2022) outlined practical changes to underpin carbon emissions reductions. Reforms passed by parliament in 2023 included several of our recommendations: declining caps on industrial emissions, fairer and more effective ways of calculating these caps, credits for facilities that emit less than their cap allows, and barring coal and gas facilities from access to government financial support.

  • In 2023, the newly elected NSW Government announced it would establish a clean energy transition authority for the Hunter region, in line with recommendations in our 2022 report, The next industrial revolution.

  • In 2023, the federal government announced it would introduce a carbon-emissions ceiling on new car sales, as recommended by Grattan in our Towards net zero series of reports (2021) and in The Grattan car plan (2021).

  • In 2022, the federal, state, and territory governments agreed to update the National Construction Code to ‘ensure that new buildings are designed, constructed, and fitted out to enable the installation of renewable energy and electric vehicle charging’. Grattan recommended this in a 2021 report, Towards net zero.


Education

  • The Federal Government has created 5,000 scholarships to attract high-achievers into teaching degrees and is working with state governments to improve teaching career paths, in keeping with Grattan recommendations, including in our 2019 report Attracting high-achievers to teaching.

  • The NSW Government is procuring high-quality shared curriculum materials for schools and piloting new approaches to using administrative staff in schools. In making the announcement, it cited our 2022 report, Making time for great teaching.

  • Federal Education Minister Jason Clare has put Tackling under-achievement  on the agenda for the panel working on the next National School Reform Agreement, saying our report contained ‘ideas about the sorts of reforms the panel could look at to boost student outcomes – particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds’.

Housing

  • The NSW government is aiming to reduce the role of stamp duty and make better use of land taxes, in line with a recommendation in our 2015 report, Property taxes.

Migration

  • In 2023, federal Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced the lifting to $70,000 of the wage threshold for temporary skilled migrants, as recommended in Grattan’s 2022 report, Australia’s migration opportunity. In making the announcement, she noted that we had called $70,000 the ‘Goldilocks’ threshold.

Government and public integrity

  • The Federal Government commissioned an independent review of the performance of the Reserve Bank of Australia, in line with Grattan’s long-advocated policy. See, for example, Why the Reserve Bank should be reviewed (2021).


Transport and cities

  • In 2023, the federal government introduced legislated reforms to Infrastructure Australia, including a provision for it to evaluate infrastructure projects against the assumptions underpinning the decision to invest. Grattan has advocated for this since 2016.

  • In 2023, the Victorian government mothballed two megaprojects, the Airport Rail Link and Geelong Fast Rail. Grattan had been calling for such a pause since the early days of the pandemic, including in our 2020 report, The rise of megaprojects.

  • In 2023, the federal government announced a stocktake of all infrastructure projects currently on the books, in light of capacity constraints, cost escalation, mounting public debt, and, in some cases, poor project selection. Grattan had been calling for such a stocktake for years, including in our 2020 report, The rise of megaprojects, and our 2021 report, Megabang for megabucks.

Retirement incomes

  • In our 2015 report, Super savings, we recommended that the Tax Office automatically consolidate lost multiple superannuation accounts. In 2019, the government passed legislated enabling this.

  • In another 2015 report, Super tax targeting, we called for the pre-tax and post-tax superannuation contribution caps to be lowered. In 2016, the government lowered them.

  • In Super tax targeting, we also recommended taxing retirement earnings at 15 per cent (instead of them being tax free). In 2016, the government restricted tax-free retirement earnings to superannuation balances up to $1.6 million.

  • In our 2018 report, Money in retirement, we called for a review of the adequacy of Australians’ retirement incomes. In 2020, the government established the Retirement Income Review.

  • In our 2020 report, No free lunch, we showed that higher superannuation means lower wages. In 2020, the Retirement Income Review and the Reserve Bank incorporated that finding into their analyses.

COVID-19

  • Grattan had a major influence on Australia’s world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting the national conversation on shutting down hard and fast to limit community transmission. See our March 2020 report, COVID-19: The endgame, and how to get there.


For numerous other examples of Grattan work directly influencing national and state-based policies, see our annual reports and annual impact reports.