The Commission is required under its Act to undertake research to complement its other activities. It undertakes research to support its role in promoting public understanding of the trade‑offs involved in different policy approaches, and how productivity and the living standards of Australians can be enhanced. It also reports annually on the effects of assistance and regulation.
The Commission’s research program is guided by government statements on policy priorities, including potential commissioned work; parliamentary debate and committee work; and informal and formal consultations with Australian Government departments, business, community and environmental groups, union bodies and academics.
During the year, the Commission released a research paper bringing together the latest and most complete evidence measuring the prevalence of, and trends in, inequality, economic mobility and disadvantage across Australian society. It also published a research report documenting the costs and benefits of moving to a demand driven university system by comparing access and student outcomes before and after the policy change. In addition, the Commission undertook work on funding and financing of integrated water cycle management, and the housing needs of Australian renters throughout the year.
The Commission released the PC Productivity Bulletin in May 2019, which provided an analysis of Australia’s recent productivity performance. The Bulletin also considered the linkage between growth in labour productivity and wages, and the implications of the resources boom on Australia’s productivity outcomes.
The Commission released the Trade and Assistance Review 2017‑18 in June 2019. The review outlined the latest quantitative estimates of Australian Government assistance to industry and discussed the future of the world trading system.