An independent public policy think tank working to build a new vision for Australia based on fairness, shared prosperity, and social justice.​

Per Capita — Fighting inequality in Australia

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Our Research

Areas

Our research is rigorous, evidence-based and long-term in its outlook. We consider the national challenges of the next decade rather than the next election cycle. We ask original questions and offer fresh solutions, drawing on new thinking in social science, economics and public policy.

Learn more about our research areas

Ageing

The extra 25 years of high-quality life expectancy over the last century constitute an unquestionably positive development for both individuals and society. Australia should embrace longer lives as a remarkable opportunity rather than a grave challenge. We seek solutions to issues resulting from Australia’s ageing population, aiming to increase the social and economic wellbeing of older Australians.

Education

In theory, education paves the road to a good job, which can lift people out of poverty and create a more equal society. In practice, however, the link between additional years of post-secondary education and increased income and employment opportunities has been eroded over recent decades. A good education should be accessible for all, not only for those who were born into a wealthy family.

Equitable Housing

Secure and appropriate housing is a fundamental human right, essential to household wellbeing and critical for communities and the economy. Housing policies at the national, state and local level are failing to adapt to changing social needs and economic conditions, and frequently entrench inequalities within and between generations. Per Capita’s Centre for Equitable Housing works toward a future where all Australians can be sure of a secure, appropriate, sustainable and affordable home, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Gender Equality

Women and other gender-diverse people continue to experience economic, material and social disadvantage. Australia has dropped from 15th in the world on the Global Gender Gap Index to 44th over the 14 years to 2020. From lower pay and less superannuation to a higher risk of experiencing family violence and homelessness and a disproportionate load of domestic labour and caring responsibilities, there is much work to be done still to achieve gender equality.

Post Carbon Economy

Per Capita’s Centre for New Industry delves into the practicalities of Australia’s inevitable shift to a post carbon economy and the effects this will have on workers. The Centre will build a vision of the future that provides greater employment opportunities for workers, greater stability and security for regional communities, and works with community, workers and industry for a successful shift to a zero carbon, full employment economy.

Progressive Economics

We challenge the belief that disadvantage arises from personal fault or failure and point out the policy choices that have deepened inequality in Australia over recent decades. Returns to capital have increased while returns to workers for their labour have stalled. We call out the negative effects of privatisation and the deliberate shrinking of essential public services.

Social Innovation

We examine the growing difficulty of accessing good jobs and adequate income support. We seek to understand and highlight the experiences of those who bear the brunt of the effects of policy choices that exacerbate inequality, including underpaid and exploited workers, people who can’t get a decent job, women, First Nations people, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disability and their carers, migrants and refugees, and others who are marginalised by our economic and social structures and denied their fair share of power and resources.

Work and Workers

A secure job with decent working conditions is a fundamental right for everyone and the means to build a better life for oneself and one’s family. In recent decades returns to capital have increased while returns to workers for their labour have stalled. Standing with workers enables individuals and the country to prosper and is the means by which we enable social mobility.

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