Friday, April 18, 2008

2020 Summit debate - 50 ways to fix Australia

Over the past fortnight more than 1000 suggestions have come in for our 2020 Summit debate -hosted by Blogocracy's Tim Dunlop - with a selected best 50 listed below. Some ideas have been very serious - and some funny enough they just might work. Climate change and sustainability attracted most reader interest, followed by health. The sustainability topic included a number of critics who thought the whole climate agenda was ill-conceived. Other ideas that came up regularly included the use of alternative energy sources, supported by government-backed research, while nuclear energy also had its fans. Many in the health section were in favour of some sort of user-pays system, where smokers or the overweight were charged more for medical services and procedures. Apart from the specific ideas that came through, there were also some impassioned feelings on show about the whole process of the 2020 Summit, the role of government and people's commitment to making this a better country. But without further ado, here – in no particular ranking - are a selection of the best. 50 ways to fix Australia: 1. If Australia is to progress, we need the development of more satellite cities in the interior to ease the urban congestion along the seaboard. Michael of Summer Hill 2. Encourage telecommuting (through tax incentives), to reduce traffic on the roads and the environmental costs associated with maintaining large workforces in a CBD. Janekc 3. Australia needs a city like Vegas and needs to lessen up the liquor licensing laws – why can I buy an 18 pack of Corona in the USA for 25 dollars and then pay 64 dollars for it here – stupid taxes. Dom of Dianella, WA 4. All hours GP clinics. People shouldn't have to go to an emergency department for a problem the local GP or nurse can deal with such as minor burns and cuts. rpg of Melbourne 5. Stop all cosmetic surgery for two years and redirect these doctors to do real work in Public Hospitals. Allan of Ingleburn 6. The web could be used to enable wide-ranging communication and collaboration - wikis or social networking could be adapted for this purpose. All of us could monitor and have input into the discussions and proposals if we so desired. Kevin Rennie of Broome 7. If Parliament had flexible work arrangements such as use of video-conferencing instead of requiring MPs to be physically present, that might encourage more women to nominate as MPs, and more people from rural areas. Rachel 8. How about making second jobs tax free? Everyone is equal too if you want some tax free money get a second job. NOTE: you must work a full 40hr week to qualify as 2nd job tax free income status. banjo of Sydney 9. Extend Smart Meters so that they can be programmed to automatically turn on/off appliances based on user preferences – e.g. on critical peak, turn down the airconditioner, and turn off the beer fridge in the shed and second television. Scorge of 10. It seems important that the recent invasion in the NT be quickly substituted with some form of local decision-making and not more paternalism. Self-determination, while not the be all and end all, is crucial. ABBA of Brisbane 11. There should be automatic indigenous representation in our nation's Federal Parliament just as there is in New Zealand. This could be done through having a virtual state or territory of indigenous electors who would vote for their representatives in the Senate. bazza of the nt of darwin 12. Why are many vehicles/people wanting to turn LEFT forced to sit unnecessarily at red traffic lights wasting fuel, time and causing congestion? Why isn't the “non-allowed” turn the exception rather than the rule? dg of Cromer 13. Increase GST to 20 per cent and then cut out income tax altogether. Imagine the savings in getting rid of the ATO! ERAM of Baulkham Hills 14. They could fix the problems of long waiting lists for overseas adoption and long waiting lists for fostering by reducing the amount of interference the real parents have in their foster children. Grahame of Melbourne 15. End slavery by regulating the franchising sector. Karen of Adelaide 16. Thirty per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions come from the livestock industry. This is a valid concern that our second-largest emission economic sector (after stationary power generation) is being ignored from the total problem of emissions reduction. Rixaeton of 17. How about a shift away from cows and a move as quickly as possible towards kangaroos as our first source of red meat? Steve J of Perth 18. Start by looking at funding for the ABC. Let’s scrap this dinosaur. And also reduce the funding for Australian films. They are mostly crap. A little less taxpayer funding will probably improve average output. chalks 19. I'd like to see an incentives-type scheme that retains locally-qualified people in their region - housing, GST exemption, business offsets, family tax benefits, further education & training grants - and further incentives to get more qualified people into these rural areas. Rachel 20. Personally I think every Australian should be entitled to one free university degree. Any subject you fail you pay for. Seano 21. Remove all stamp duties from second hand car sales for cars built in 2009 and beyond, this would encourage people to buy newer second hand cars that are better for the environment and for safer roads. Phil of Cheltenham 22. I see a lot of new construction that seems counter-intuitive to energy efficiency - big boxes of glass with no awnings, no sign of taking advantage of the solar energy so readily available. Office and apartment blocks could use water tanks, too. Greg of 23. Australia's agricultural industry wasn't/isn't sustainable - simply the wrong crops and the wrong animals for the wrong climate. Hemp cloth is a better fabric than cotton and hemp plants grow just about anywhere. paul of overseas 24. Providing infrastructure for the benefit of those who live outside the cities will enable us to have more options when hard times hit. None of us want handouts, just some of our tax money spent where we live would be good thanks. Fran of country vic 25. The government must serve the function of referee to our business community. This means they must stop trying to score goals, and trying to choose which team will win. Matt Thompson of Perth 26. While creators and distributors of all other forms of art are paid both primary and secondary royalties from primary and secondary use of their works, actors are not. This needs to be addressed. Ross Sharp of Brisbane 27. Give serious consideration to the land management strategies proposed by Peter Andrews in his book Back from the Brink – if you look at drought stricken and fertile areas he’s spot on. Charlie of Melbourne 28. A low carbon incentive scheme to encourage fast innovation to lead us to clean power and transport solutions, and move the workforce from polluting to clean industry. Richard of St Kilda West 29. I would like to see the Government educating rather then punishing like the P-Plate laws that just create a new range of problems. Bianca of Central Coast 30. The States must be abolished, especially the wasteful duplication of legislative, policy and management layers. How many Ministers of Health does this country need to truly stuff health? retired of bayside 31. The most precious thing arts funding can buy for me is... time. I would dearly love to be able to apply for a year long “scholarship” - substantial enough to cover basic living costs - assessed on a presentation of a convincing slate of projects. I would happily work my butt off to get my projects “industry ready”. Rubeedoo of Summertown 32. Legalise all drugs, synthesise them, prescribe them. Make money from taxation, money from the doctor’s visits, money from enforced counselling, money from higher earning workforce. Keep it out of the black market. Jared of Brisbane 33. I think we need to stop dictating ideas on how to improve the Aboriginal situation. Any action taken should be conducted at community level, trialled, and if successful trialled at other communities. Trev - Perth of Northbridge WA 34. We will all be better off when big American companies buy up all the farms and put in tenant farmers, who can then run each farm, or should I say franchise? Daniel K888 of Melbourne 35. We should offer a limited number of HECS placements for students to study in foreign universities. domino of Canberra 36. In negotiating with nurses and teachers, ALP state governments will apply the "one size fits all" approach. This stops them from responding to the legitimate expectations of those currently employed in these occupations. Tom of Melbourne 37. A government-promoted "just say hello" campaign for our neighbourhoods. This has proved remarkably effective in Canada and serves to join communities closer together. hyenas of Perth 38. Private institutions should receive the same funding when they are subjected to the same criteria as the public system. That is: provide schooling for ALL the population, in all regions. Have to deal with problem children, instead of palming them back to the public system. Tom R 39. If we want quality learning for tradespeople then we must encourage industry and business to embrace the training of young people for their industry and business. TB Queensland 40. Provide students as young as primary age with the skills to express their problems and the tools to help them solve their issues without the need for violence in any of its forms. This would have an amazing flow-on effect. kitty of brisbane 41. Let's get some fast internet. That doesn't mean 20Mbit for the future. That means getting 100Mbit today and planning for going beyond that as the tech. becomes available. Tim of Perth 42. Have one uniform police, hospital and education system across the country. Greg of Sydney 43. How about a community project for students at school every year as part of their classes until 10th grade with the help of a mentor – perhaps a council planner? Mark of Sydney 44. Teaching life skills to school students such as reading and writing (too few can now), as well as finance, nutrition, work ethics, respect for others, etc instead of the crap they get now - such as 'your rights at home' or 'your rights with Centrelink'. Citizen of Brisbane 45. Many people have had to give up creative businesses because the Government's relentless pursuing of them “to go and get a real job”, whereas if their creative endeavours were encouraged, then that person could well have established a business. happy of Qld 46. Tax deductibility and tax incentives to promote local film and TV production. CAM 47. Start by mandating 800mm eaves, solar hot water and stormwater use in gardens and toilets on ALL new housing. We have missed a decade of housing boom - let's not miss the next. Common Wealth of Australia 48. A reversible rebate on voluntary super contributions. If you leave the money in, you retain the rebate. If you take money out, the rebate is pad back to govt, and you receive the money in after tax dollars. jc of Sydney 49. It’s a shame that people have to drive on the highways in the weekend just to make the kms to be eligible for Novated lease. The laws which govern these unnecessary wastages of petrol should be reviewed with priority. Iqu of Melbourne 50. We need to become a republic and have a statutory Bill of Rights. Pollwatcher of Brisbane


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