Financing our future: the potential of Social Impact Investment to address the growing service gap in Australian health and aged care

By Sabina Lim

Sabina represented the University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics at the 2016 OECD Forum in Paris.  


As Australia enters a new economic era defined by the end of the mining boom, the Australian government must grapple with the challenges of ‘an ageing population, a challenging budget repair task and ever-increasing expectations around social expenditure’ (Fraser, 2015). Critically, a key issue for government will be finding sustainable methods of financing to meet current and rapidly expanding obligations in health and aged care services. The need for new, innovative financing models is increasingly relevant in today’s economic setting.

Social Impact Investing (SII, or impact investing) is one field that has been gaining traction in recent years and whose potential has been recognised by bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and members of the G8 Taskforce for Social Impact Investment, established in 2013. Social impact investments are made into organisations, projects or funds with the intention of generating positive social and environmental outcomes, alongside a financial return. Impact investments in the United Kingdom and United States have already demonstrated potential to address service gaps in health and aged care sectors.

With the Australian impact investing market still in its nascent stages, the government is in a unique position to play a significant role in fostering its development. Targeting health and ageing as a priority area, supporting the establishment of an independent market intermediary, breaking down regulatory barriers to investment, and providing direct leadership and engagement are all critical to harness its potential and help unlock capital in a market estimated to reach A$32 billion domestically over the next decade (Addis, McCutchan & Munro, 2015).

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Strategies for increasing recruitment of female medical graduates to surgical specialties: a role for medical schools

By Victoria Cook

Victoria attended the 2016 UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.


Since 2001, the majority of students graduating from Australian medical schools have been female. Yet in 2015, only 9.2% of surgeons were female, a figure that declines further in sub-specialties such as orthopaedics[1]. Female students accurately perceive significant gender-based barriers to building a successful career in surgery. These negative perceptions are compounded and exaggerated by experiences of medical education. Increasing the numbers of women in surgery requires a comprehensive approach across all stages of medical education, as well as surgical training and practice. This paper will focus on the role that universities can play in encouraging a more gender-neutral pattern of specialisation in medical graduates, in particular by increasing the number of female graduates choosing surgery.

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Equalising Participation of Women in STEM: International Case Studies of Successful Strategies

By Anna Kosmynina

Anna attended the 2015 OECD Forum in Paris.


Despite the advances that women have made in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), participation in Australia remains predominantly male, with only 33% of tertiary STEM qualifications being awarded to women and the qualified STEM workforce only comprising 28% women. Similar patterns of gendered participation are observed internationally, however Australia is below the OECD average. Developing and implementing strategies to increase women’s participation in STEM education and workforces and engages educators, government and industry in its solutions, and leads to increased gender equality and economic benefits. This paper explicitly contributes to the post-2015 OECD outcomes of empowering women and enhancing the capacity to innovate to achieve integrated sustainability

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