A report authored by Dr Oliver Mar Hatwich from the Centre for Independent Studies has found that Australia has become one of the most expensive countries to live in, thanks to Federal Government policies.


The Price Drivers: Five Case Studies in How Government is Making Australia Unaffordable report examines books, cars, retail, housing and bananas as microcosms of an increasingly expensive lifestyles.


“Our cities’ consumer goods, retail space, and houses are now much less affordable than in the international cities of London, New York and Singapore,” the report finds.


The report makes the following reccomendations: 

  • Bananas:
    • Dismantle the ban on importing fresh hard green bananas from the Philippines into thenon-banana growing states of Tasmania, Victoria, ACT and South Australia, if not all states and territories.
  • Books:
    • Repeal the ‘30 day rule’ in the Copyright Act 1968.
    •  Allow a three-year adjustment period for the industry before the changes come into effect.
    • Review the changes five years after the repeal.
  • Cars:
    • Abolish the remaining import duties to allow commercial importation of new vehicles.
    • Abolish the Luxury Car Tax.
    • Allow the private importation of used vehicles into Australia that are:
      • not older than 10 years and have not been driven more than 120,000 kms
      • only from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Japan and New Zealand, and
      • fit to obtain a ‘pink slip’ on arrival. 
  • Housing:
    •  Increase supply by encouraging councils to take on more residents through localgovernment finance reforms that reward councils for accepting more residents. Policy recommendations are available in the CIS report Australia’s Angry Mayors.
    •  Abolish both negative gearing and first home buyers grants.
    • Abolish or at least reduce stamp duty on property transactions.
    • Cap infrastructure levies or replace them with funding streams based on income tax. Alternatively, give councils access to a share of the locally generated GST revenue.
  • Retail:
    •  Support the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to relax planning and zoning regulations to:
      • increase land supply for retail, and
      • prevent these regulations from being used by established retail-space owners as anticompetitive tools.
  • Abolish commercial viability testing for new shopping areas.


"We are always told we are living in this miracle economy, the envy of the world, the one economy that survived the GFC, and it's all true, but ordinary consumers do not feel they are living in this blessed economy - they actually feel ripped off and overcharged," Dr Hartwich said.


The full report can be found here