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A Real Deal

A research-action agenda for transforming Australia in and beyond the pandemic
Can Australians from all walks of life come together to map a new course for our economy in the aftermath of COVID-19?

The Sydney Policy Lab’s Real Deal has brought together an unusual coalition of climate, union, community and business groups supported by researchers at the University to answer this, one of the biggest questions of our time.

Working through a deeply collaborative and co-designed process, the coalition has produced a report outlining five benchmarks for a ‘Real Deal.’

Their report suggests that while stimulus spending is needed to address the contemporary COVID-19 crises, it is insufficient to address the critical issues the country is facing.

The report outlines five benchmarks that can guide the development of a Real Deal, building on the best of research into the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

  1. Major public investment is back, but policy must be attuned to the shape of the economy, too.
  2. The pandemic exposed pre-existing inequalities and injustices that must be addressed for good.
  3. We need bold community vision for an economy that serves us all, and a plan to make it happen.
  4. A Real Deal is generated by the active participation of people in decisions that affect them.
  5. Collaboration is the foundation for a Real Deal that can deliver long-lasting solutions.

Together, these benchmarks distinguish a Real Deal on the basis of whether it is genuinely transformative, addresses inequality and insecurity, makes plans for meeting social and environmental needs, and is capable of generating enthusiasm from all parts of Australian society.

The strength of the project lies in the breadth of the coalition that has come together to make it: instead of creating fast policy, driven by specific issues, the team from the Policy Lab has focused on relationships first. Our method is grounded in co-design with a set of groups that do not traditionally work together. We aim to show that it is possible to share challenges and find common ground even in a time of crisis.

Research team: Dr Amanda Tattersall, Dr Gareth Bryant, Dr Rosemary Hancock

Project partners: United Workers Union, GetUp!, Australian Conservation Foundation, Jesuit Social Services, Climate Justice Union, Queensland Community Alliance, Sydney Alliance, Victoria Trades Hall, Tomorrow Movement,