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The role of the Australian financial sector in supporting a sustainable and inclusive recovery

Christine Lewis and Ben Westmore

No 1699, OECD Economics Department Working Papers from OECD Publishing

Abstract: Australia’s financial sector entered the COVID-19 crisis in a strong position, enabling it to play a key role in cushioning the pandemic’s impact. Once the national economy reopens, policymakers will turn their focus to securing a robust, sustainable and inclusive recovery. However, low interest rates are boosting house prices and demand for credit in a banking sector that is already highly exposed to housing and highly indebted households. At the same time, many young and innovative firms – which are the drivers of job creation and productivity growth - struggle to access finance. And financial frictions impede the alignment of financial flows with environmental sustainability. Addressing these obstacles, through regulatory change, developing alternatives to bank finance and facilitating technological transformation, would raise productivity and set the recovery on a more sustainable path. Financial inclusion and financial literacy are comparatively high and financial education is entrenched at schools. Further efforts are still needed to address persistent gaps in outcomes for disadvantaged groups, accompanied by stronger consumer protections to ensure that the recovery is inclusive.

Keywords: access to finance; Australian financial system; environmental risk exposure; financial inclusion; household debt (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G20 G21 G24 G28 G33 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-12-23
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ban, nep-cfn, nep-env, nep-fdg and nep-fle
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