Performance overview: Australia
Australia’s (22nd) performance is stable compared with the previous edition and remarkably consistent yet never stellar—Australia does not rank lower than 28th across the 12 pillars, and it ranks in the top 10 of three pillars. Notable strengths include access to education and the quality of its education system. Australia places 10th in the health and primary education pillar and 9th in higher education and training. Improving further, Australia now ranks 6th overall in the financial development pillar, thanks to the high level of trust and confidence in the system. The efficiency of the labor market, where Australia used to rank in the 50s, improves further (28th, up eight)—a gain of almost 30 places over the past three years. Despite the prolonged commodity bust, Australia’s performance in the macroeconomic situation (23rd, up five) is strong, with the government reducing the fiscal deficit to less than 3 percent. Innovation represents Australia’s challenge and imperative in the face of low commodity prices and China’s slowdown. In both business sophistication (28th, down one) and innovation (26th, down three), Australia not only lags far behind the best performers but also loses ground to them.