For a document that is supposed to provide the Abbott government with a road map for serious spending cuts, the Commission of Audit has made some glaring oversights, an economic think tank says.
Dr Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute has released an audit of the “Audit,” showing how the commission has fudged some key economic assumptions that underpin its entire analysis.
According to the Institute’s paper, Auditing the Auditors: The People’s Commission of Audit, the commission assumes that Australia’s unemployment rate will remain at 6 per cent indefinitely, no matter what it does.
But if that is the case, the paper asks, what is the point of cutting any spending?
“Even if Australia cuts corporate taxes, reduces unemployment benefits and cuts the minimum wage … the unemployment rate will never return to the rates experienced during the Rudd/Gillard years,” the report says.
“In fact, the Commission of Audit specifically assumes that unemployment will remain at 6 per cent indefinitely.”
The Australia Institute has also found that the commission quotes approvingly from a Grattan Institute paper to prove a point about controversial co-payments for visits to the GP, but that same Grattan Institute paper contains an argument that contradicts the commission’s belief that growth in health spending is not being driven by an ageing population.
It also finds that the annual cost of tax concessions to superannuation will exceed the annual cost of the age pension in 2016-17, and while the cost of the age pension is growing at 6 per cent a year, the cost of tax concessions for super are growing at 12 per cent a year. But the commission makes no recommendations about the need to reform these tax concessions.