EXTRACT FROM EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF HARPER COMPETITION POLICY REVIEW 2015 (LONGER VERSION)

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Australia has enjoyed continuous growth since the early 1990s and weathered the financial crisis of the late 2000s without a rn. During the Panel’s consultations, this backdrop led some stakeholders to question whether there was a ‘burning platform’ for a new round of reform.

Evidence presented to the Panel throughout the Review suggests that reform is not only overdue, given stalled reform effort in the 2000s, but critical to improving Australia’s p performance and to sustaining our living into the future.
In the 1990s, Australia benefited from strong productivity , reflecting the cn enhancing reforms undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s. As the Organisation for Economic Co operation and (OECD) 2010 regulatory review of Australia noted:

Increased exposure to i trade during the 1980s and the product market ln conducted in the 1990s under the National Competition Policy (NCP) framework reduced to entry, and increased competition in the Australian economy. This contributed to an impressive surge in in the 1990s ...

In the 2000s, the driver of Australia’s rising living standards changed, as a surge in our terms of and a boom in investment took over from productivity growth. In fact, multifactor productivity growth (a measure of produced per unit of combined inputs of and capital) deteriorated markedly during this time. Much of this deterioration coincided with a stalling in Australia’s reform effort.

Now that Australia’s of trade are receding from their peak and the in mining investment is past, as a matter of urgency we must look once again to productivity growth to underpin rising standards.

The case for further microeconomic reform, and particularly cn policy reform is clear.

Looking ahead, sl change in the Australian economy will continue to subdue average of growth in productivity. Productivity growth is lower in service sectors, such as aged care and health, which are expected to expand, while sectors with higher productivity growth, such as financial services, are expected to decline as a share of the .

Without reform to improve the of our large and growing services industries, Australia’s economy will face increasing challenges, affecting not only the choices of our citizens in their everyday activities, but also the state of our public finances. Providing the services that users want, and delivering them in the way they want, are important elements of making government funded services se.

Australia must reform its , not only to deal with the productivity challenge at home but also to take advantage of gl developments, to sustain Australia’s capacity to secure rising levels of py.

The industrialisation of dg nations and, in particular, the rise of A and the growing Asian middle class offer Australia important growth opportunities. Yet, as outlined below, Australia cannot assume that the rise of Asia will be an uncontested opportunity.

Notwithstanding the economic imperatives, it takes time to implement rs and for their effects to materialise. The NCP reforms took many years to be agreed and implemented across jurisdictions before the real benefits were fully exploited and our of living was materially improved.

A new microeconomic agenda will inevitably take time to be formulated, agreed and then implemented. Given the forces for change that Australia already faces, any delay will only make reform more difficult, and more sharply felt. Early action will make the reform effort more manageable, allowing Australians to enjoy higher living standards sooner rather than later.