Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions

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One Nation has struck an accord with some but they are wrong on Free Trade

Over the State Election campaign, there have been calls by One Nation to rollback trade liberalisation and renegotiate, or even tear-up, previously agreed to trade agreements. These calls have been made on the basis of an argument that trade liberalisation has been undertaken at the expense of local jobs.

However a recent report by the Centre for International Economics confirms that 55,400 jobs are at stake in Queensland if Australia starts to reverse out of our Free Trade Agreements.  The CIE report provides convincing evidence about the benefits delivered by trade liberalisation in the period 1986 to 2016. The report found:

  • Trade is an important element of the Queensland economy and accounts for 1 in 5 jobs
  • average household income was $8448 higher than it would have been without trade liberalisation.
  • Australian GDP was 5.4 per cent higher than it would have been without trade liberalisation, investment 11.7 per cent higher, real wages 7.4 per cent higher and prices 3.4 per cent lower.

The report underscores the importance of Australia's long-term commitment to free trade and any move back to high tariffs and trade barriers would see job losses, cuts in household consumption and falling living standards. The economic modelling suggests that if tariffs on all merchandise imports were increased to raise all import prices by 10 per cent, GDP in Australia would be 2.2 per cent lower. The short-term impacts of tariff increases would see job losses in Australia, while over the longer-term, real wages for Australian workers would be lower, in turn cutting household consumption and Australian living standards overall.

There is no question ​that One Nation are benefiting from voter dissatisfaction with the major parties but it is time we start to put some of their policies under the microscope.



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