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Big Idea Ten: complete stocktake of areas lost to commercial fishing

Seafood is recognised as an important healthy protein source, and critical to meet the nutritional needs of an ageing population in particular. Last year Australia exported less fish than it imported, indicating that we are not producing enough to feed ourselves. This hasn’t always been the case with export production regularly exceeding imports until 2006-07. Despite having a significant coastline, Australia is relying on exploiting the fishing stocks and aquaculture production of other nations, often developing nations with limited effective management regimes. This unused local resource is a renewable one with sensible management. This situation is unsustainable in a world with global population heading towards 9 billion people.

It would appear that too much of our fish stock has been locked-up, with absolutely no advantage to us but to the detriment of the environment in other regions of the world. Yet we have no clear idea what areas have been locked-up, and how much additional production would be possible and what additional wealth would be available to us if we utilized the resource.


Big Idea Nine: Citizen Initiated Referenda

Recently the plebiscite has had a resurgence to deal with ideas that are difficult to resolve by traditional political means. Queensland had a plebiscite on four year terms of parliament, and the federal government has proposed a plebiscite to deal with the issue of gay marriage. In South Australia the government has also proposed a plebiscite on whether that state should have a nuclear storage facility.


Big Idea Seven: guarantee maximum wait times in public hospitals

This was an initiative of the Newman Government, and guaranteed patients a minimum standard of service. Promising that if patients can’t be treated in public hospitals within the recommended wait time they will be treated in a private hospital puts pressure on public hospitals to perform, as the fee comes out of their budget but opens the provision of health services to the private sector competition that will improve service delivery.

Queensland’s major public hospitals are less efficient than their peer group, according to the MyHospitals website. Victoria has the most efficient hospitals, with New South Wales in between. Queensland spends $15.3 Billion on health out of a total budget of $49.8 Billion (31 per cent of the total). Making hospitals more efficient can either free up money to be spent elsewhere, or used to improve the range and quality of health services offered by the state.


Big Idea Six: fund students, not schools

Australian educational achievement has been falling since the 1970s. In the latest Trends in International Maths and Science study (TIMS) Australia has fallen from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 maths, putting us behind countries like Kazakhstan. The answer to the problem is multi-factorial, encompassing culture as well as curriculum, teaching style, and teacher quality.