Deloitte Access Economics report, commissioned by SBS, examines the potential for future economic growth
Improving social inclusion in Australia has the potential to unlock a $12.7 billion economic dividend annually, and play a significant role in Australia’s future economic growth and prosperity, a report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by SBS, has found.
Published in August, The Economic Benefits of Improving Social Inclusion quantifies, for the first time in this way, the potential lift to Australia’s economy that could be driven by improved employment and health outcomes, increased workplace productivity, and reduced costs of social services, as a result of greater social inclusion.
John O’Mahony, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics, said, “Australia has experienced almost three decades of economic growth as a nation, and our economic success has helped sustain growth in living standards. Yet productivity growth has been weaker since 2004 and lifting it will be central to improving future living standards and ensuring all Australians benefit from our prosperity.”
He explained that policies to drive economic growth often focus on financial and quantifiable aspects of markets and regulation, but there are also important social drivers. “Improving social inclusion is a source of economic strength and higher living standards for all Australians. Having an inclusive society not only avoids the costs incurred when people are excluded, but harnesses our diversity, providing fuel for creativity and innovation in our economy,” he said.
Through new quantitative modelling, data and analysis, Deloitte Access Economics has identified five key dimensions through which social inclusion can yield economic benefits:
- Increased productivity in the workplace: Business benefits from social inclusion in a number of ways: diversity can be a source of creativity and innovation, lifting productivity; social inclusion can also lift profitability and help target market segments. Increasing the share of women in senior leadership was estimated to increase Australia’s GDP by $5 billion through more creative, innovative and inclusive workplaces.
- Improved employment outcomes: Greater social inclusion means people are less likely to experience discrimination-based adversity, and less likely to experience discrimination in the first place, increasing their capacity to seek employment or gain longer working hours and contribute to the economy as a whole. Labour market benefits from improving social inclusion among migrant communities in Australia is estimated to yield economic and social benefits worth $1.2 billion a year.
- Improvement in mental and physical health: Social inclusion can counteract isolation and increase community participation, which helps to alleviate health problems, especially mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The impact of social inclusion in improving health outcomes for migrant communities alone is estimated to improve well-being by $6.5 billion a year.
- Reduced cost of social services: Social inclusion reduces the cost of social services by easing pressure on the public health system and reducing the need for income and housing support payments.
- Inclusive growth: By lifting wages and workforce participation in geographical areas of socioeconomic disadvantage, the benefits of economic growth can be shared more evenly across all Australian communities.
James Taylor, SBS Managing Director, commented on the report: “Creativity, tenacity, vision and leadership—these are all critical drivers of innovation. These attributes are not unique to any one community, and they are not determined by where you were born, your family ancestry, the language you speak, your gender, sexual orientation or faith.
“Australia’s reputation as a successful and inclusive society can only benefit from further embracing difference in our teams, workplaces, and in our community. This report demonstrates that when we are all empowered and access to opportunity is more evenly shared, so too are the dividends for all,” said Taylor.
Dr Bulent Hass Dellal AO, SBS Chair, added: “Australia’s rich cultural diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths. We are proudly an inclusive society but as this report shows there are opportunities from fostering greater inclusion which all Australians can benefit from in a tangible way. As Australia becomes increasingly diverse, the importance of fostering social inclusion will continue to grow. This is as important for ensuring cohesive communities as it is for Australia’s economic prosperity and makes the role that SBS has played for more than 40 years in contributing to social inclusion, more relevant and important today than ever before.”
There is power, potential, and a strong economic imperative in better understanding, respecting and celebrating our differences, he said. “This is central to all that SBS does, as a dedicated multicultural and Indigenous broadcaster delivering content and services that contribute to a more inclusive society.”
The quantitative analysis in the report largely focuses on the benefits of social inclusion for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, specifically migrant communities, but recognises that there are many other groups that contribute to Australia’s diversity and for whom improving social inclusion is likely to result in additional economic benefits for Australia.