Rebuilding Australia – options to reboot productivity and improve living standards

Australia is in the depths of the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression. And while governments rightly focus on kickstarting economic recovery, in the longer-term, productivity is what matters for improving our living standards.

What can governments do to boost productivity? There are plenty of options beyond the usual suspects of tax and IR reform.

A recently released NSW Productivity Commission Green Paper explores options, from improving education and skills, reliable well-priced water and energy, smarter infrastructure, and better planning of our cities.

In this special Grattan Institute/State Library of NSW Forward Thinking webinar event, Grattan experts will discuss the Commission’s recommendations with NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat.

This will be a wide-ranging conversation about reforms to boost living standards, with a special focus on schools, housing, and regulatory reform. We will unpack what policies could make the biggest difference and why, the lessons from COVID on policy change, and the potential roadblocks to worthwhile reforms. And we want to hear from you — please join in by submitting your questions.

Event details
Tuesday 22 September, noon-1pm

Register Here


Achterstraat AM is the NSW Productivity Commissioner. He holds an honours degree in Economics as well as degrees in Law and Commerce from the ANU. Peter was admitted to the Bar of the NSW Supreme Court in 1983 and a Barrister in the High Court of Australia in 1985. Peter is also Chairman of Bankstown Airport Ltd and is currently the President of the NSW Division of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also the Chairman of the Sydney Financial Forum.

Julie Sonnemann is the acting Director of School Education at Grattan Institute. Julie has significant experience in education policy and system design, and has co-authored several high profile reports on effective teaching, professional learning, equity and funding. She is a trained economist and has experience in government, research and consulting organisations.

Brendan Coates is Director of Grattan’s Household Finances Program. His research focuses on tax reform, economic and budget policy, retirement incomes and superannuation, housing, transport infrastructure, and cities. He previously worked as a macro-financial economist with the World Bank in Indonesia and Latin America, and in a number of roles with the Australian Treasury.


Danielle Wood 
is CEO of the Grattan Institute and is head of our Budget Policy and Institutional Reform Programs. Danielle has published extensively on economic reform priorities, budget policy, tax reform, generational inequality and reforming political institutions. Danielle previously worked at the ACCC, NERA Economic Consulting and the Productivity Commission. Danielle is the National President of the Economic Society of Australia and was co-founder and former Chair of the Women in Economic Network.