Chamber Talk with QT Better Business columnist Brett Kitching.
Chamber Talk with QT Better Business columnist Brett Kitching.

Many lessons to be learnt from Singapore's economic success

A VISIT to Singapore last week highlighted to me the benefits of a long-term government - one that is solely interested in the growth, prosperity, and well-being of the overall city, country, or community.

On many fronts, decisions made in that country over the past few decades have shown the path to prosperity for others across the world to follow.

A shining example is social security and funding of an aging population.

A decision was taken by Singaporean leaders three decades ago to self-fund the aging population and healthcare. This was done similar to the one-baby policy Chinese system by requiring all income earners to save about a third of their income to fund retirement.

These superannuation-type funds are saved and invested by the government and not spent on current policy programs.

Along the way, as there is little or no social security, there has continually been basically 100% employment for citizens of the country.

Thirty years later this policy has led to Singapore being amongst the top few wealthiest countries in the world per head of capita. This is despite a small geographical area which consequently allows little farming and agriculture, mining, or manufacture, and despite a small population of about 5 million permanent residents.

Additionally, the country has laws to ensure it is amongst the cleanest and safest across the world, with very low levels of crime and extremely high national pride amongst citizens.

This model would make most developed countries' governments cringe with envy and is a strong lesson in well-managed macroeconomics - something that probably can only be done during a long term of government, but on the other hand, is an approach with results that has shown to lead to a long term in government.

On the home front, Ipswich can be seen over the past decade as having developed a number of these traits - cleaner, safer, lower levels of crime, and growing pride in the city.

This is certainly the case more so than a decade or two earlier.

The announcements last week of the Brisbane Lions and General Electric moving into Ipswich is further evidence of the development of the city in a positive direction.