Time to secure economic future

Business Council of Australia

20 October 2022

The Business Council today releases its pre-budget statement, calling for the nation to focus on three priorities: accelerating economic growth; maintaining fiscal discipline and spending more efficiently.

“Australia has secured a world leading post-pandemic recovery so far but it isn’t assured, growth forecasts around the world are being downgraded, inflation is yet to peak and central banks are continuing to raise interest rates, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The decisions we make now will have huge implications for the job security and wellbeing of families.

“We are at a critical phase of our recovery, and we must act carefully to lock in our success and shield Australians from the faltering global economy.

“Now is a time to act carefully to protect Australia’s economic security.

“On issues like workplace relations reform, we’ll need to act carefully to avoid unintended consequences that increase strike action and sabotage our record low unemployment.

“There is no comprehensive framework on the table to explain how proposed workplace changes would deliver higher wages or a stronger economy. Businesses are anxious that the first proposal they see could be a finalised piece of legislation.

“Before wholesale changes to our workplace relations system are made, we need to be very clear about the problem they seek to solve and the potential consequences.

“We want wages to grow but that challenge won’t be solved through the workplace relations system alone. A more complex system won’t just sabotage wages, it will drive up unemployment.

“Next week’s budget is a chance for the Albanese government to set out a clear plan to boost real wages by lifting our woeful productivity performance, skilling Australians and carefully managing spending to combat inflation.

“Australia needs a federal budget that sets out a long-term plan to pay down the national credit card and clear the pathway to growth.

“Restoring our budget position isn’t just about numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s a path to protecting Australians from the next global crisis and sustaining the services Australians want.

“When it comes to revenue, we’ll need more not less successful businesses to continue to do the economic heavy lifting, and households with the right incentives to work and prosper.

“Attracting new investment and driving economic activity will be critical to maintain the $126 billion in company tax receipts paid last year. This underpins the services Australians deserve and expect.

“To control spending, we are calling for better service design – not cost cutting.

“Our challenge is to manage spending by delivering better, more efficient services to Australians by putting their needs at the centre and using technology more effectively.

“This is about more purposeful spending to ensure that the services Australians want can be provided for the long term, not via indiscriminate cuts.

“Every decision we make needs to move us closer to a more internationally competitive, productive and dynamic economy that allows businesses to invest, innovate, hire and pay Australians more.”

You can read the full statement here.

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