If same-sex marriage is made legal in Australia the economic benefits could be up to $1 billion in the first year.
The figure has been released in a research note by ANZ which claims that if just half of same-sex couples married in the first 12 months, there would be $1 billion in related spending.
It’s a policy that has the support of Australia’s new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and opinion polls suggest the majority of the public also agree.
But legislative certainty is still some time away, with the PM stating he will maintain his predecessor’s plan for a plebiscite or referendum on the issue sometime after the next election.
ANZ’s co-head of economics Cherelle Murphy and statistician Mandeep Kaura said same-sex marriage would provide a wide range of economic stimuli to the Australian economy.
“Whenever it happens, the rush of same-sex weddings would have a positive impact on activity and confidence, particularly in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory,” the report noted.
“Marriage equality will be a fresh and much-needed source of demand for the Australian economy.”
The figure is based on the assumption that half the 34,000 same-sex couples identified in the 2011 census would marry and that the number of couples would continue to grow at the same rate as between the 2006 to 2011 census to 38,000 couples by 2016.
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome told SBS that if the federal government is serious about improving the economy, then it should also be serious about legalising same-sex marriage now.
“Too often we hear from federal politicians that marriage equality is a second order issue that needs to wait until the economy is in order and generating more jobs, well the ANZ shows that in fact marriage equality will make a really important contribution to improving the economy, boosting small business and to generating more jobs, particularly in the small business sector,” Mr Croome said.
The report outlines five key areas in which it argues legalising same-sex marriage would provide an economic benefit.
“It will complement the federal governments’ agenda of boosting the small-business sector and lift confidence by securing additional sources of demand for the many retailers, hospitality and professional service businesses involved in the wedding and honeymoon industry,” the authors wrote.
Five immediate economic benefits of marriage equality
- Expenditure on weddings. This could benefit a range of industries including retail trade, hospitality, arts and recreation, professional services (pre-nuptial agreements and divorce).
- Increased service exports due to offshore visitors marrying and honeymooning in Australia.
- The diversion of Australian same-sex couples back home that would otherwise have married overseas. This may further boost the industries listed above.
- Increased state government revenue from same-sex marriage license fees and from conducting on-site ceremonies in state-run registries of births, deaths and marriages.
- There may also be a small boost to consumer confidence, given the change to marriage equality is a policy supported by the majority of Australians.
Last Updated on Oct 7, 2015