This review contains the Commission's latest quantitative estimates of Australian government assistance to industry and an outline of recent developments in industry assistance and trade policy that may affect assistance estimates in future years.
This report is being released against the background of unprecedented Australian Government measures to support industry associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, none of which are reported in this review. The Commission will consider the pandemic measures, where relevant, in the next review.
- Australian Government net assistance to industry fell for most sectors of the economy from 2017‑18 to 2018‑19.
- The decline is the continuation of a long‑term reduction in assistance for the manufacturing and agriculture industries, which commenced in the 1970s and mostly stems from lower import tariffs. As a result, Australia has become a more globalised and competitive economy, generating vast benefits for consumers.
- Budgetary assistance (through direct outlays or tax concessions) has grown in recent years, from $9.1 billion in 2013‑14 to $11.8 billion in 2018‑19, driven mostly by new tax concessions for small businesses. Overall, most budgetary assistance is provided to the services sector (which makes up over 80 per cent of the economy) or is unable to be allocated to any particular sector.
- Progress on international trade policy has faltered.