Australia is a wonderful place to live and work, but years of inaction in key areas of economic reform and poor policy decisions mean that our living standards are under threat.
With decades of uninterrupted growth, Australia’s national income per capita until recently increased much more quickly than most other major world economies. However, much of our current prosperity is the result of past reforms and once-in-a lifetime boom in commodity prices.
But the economy is in transition following the mining boom and faces real challenges. While some of Australia’s economic difficulties are driven by international forces and an ageing population, growth is impeded by poor public policy and successive governments acting as roadblocks to reform.
Australia is an increasingly uncompetitive place to do business.
Other countries are embracing policies that are making their economies more competitive, and Australia is falling behind.
Over the past decade Australia has fallen from 10th to 21st on the Global Competiveness Index, with our biggest weaknesses being innovation, tax and workplace relations.
This is unacceptable.
It is critical we do not consign future generations to poor prosperity and reduced living standards.
Over the next 10 years, Australia’s income growth is projected to be less than half what we have come to expect, meaning lower profits, smaller pay rises and much weaker government revenue. If we do not address this now it will mean less investment, fewer jobs and missed opportunities.
The Federal Government must have a clear plan to ensure the nation’s prosperity as we move past the mining boom.
The Australian Chamber, in Top 10 in 10: Ten steps towards a more competitive Australia, recommends ten policy steps to lift Australia into the top ten most competitive countries within ten years.
These ten steps include encouraging more employers to offer young people apprenticeships, building the infrastructure we need in a less ad hoc and partisan way, giving managers and workers the flexibility to put in place workplace arrangements that suit their needs, containing government spending as a
share of the economy and supporting investment through reducing the company tax rate and increased trade investment.
These top 10 steps are outlined in the following pages. These commitments are real and practical, and need to be actioned by the next Federal Government. These steps, however, are just the beginning.
The 2016 edition of Getting on with Business expands on the “Top 10 in 10” by placing the issues within the context of a broader policy agenda which represents the Australian Chamber’s recommendations for the re-elected Coalition Government.
These focus in detail on the policy settings for:
- Harnessing the strength of our workforce through employment, education and better workplace regulation
- Practical and consistent Workplace Health and Safety measures
- Tax reform that provides incentives for growth
- Responsible budget management
- Better infrastructure planning
- Reducing red tape
- Strengthening our engagement in global markets
- Addressing climate change
- Enhancing tourism and our visitor economy
By committing to our Top 10 goal and the Australian Chamber’s Getting on with Business policy priorities, the Federal Government can help create a more competitive Australia.