Time to act
Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:35

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on businesses and governments to immediately follow-up with six practical measures to start a new round of productivity enriching reforms that were urged on the nation by Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens at the Prime Minister's Economic Forum in Brisbane.

The message of this Forum is that we can and must do much more as a nation to make our economy more productive and more globally competitive. Specific measures must be taken by business and government over the coming months if the Forum is to live up to the aspiration of its participants. It's no good talking about solutions unless there is follow up and implementation.

As a starter six steps should be taken over the next month – three by business and three by governments.

Business owners and managers should:

  •  Review work practices and start a discussion with employees or unions on steps to eliminate inefficient work practices;
  •  Start, if they have not already, developing a strategy on how their business can better link into Asian growth markets; and
  •  Identify how the business might be able to increase workforce skills or participation rates.

The Australian government should:

  •  Undertake to deliver a meaningful company tax cut in the next budget from expenditure savings;
  •  Amend industrial relations laws to prevent unions restricting the right of business to restructure, outsource or engage self-employed contractors;
  •  Announce measures to support export finance provision to small and medium businesses.

Beyond this, the Australian government should follow Glenn Steven's suggestions and have a fresh look at the reforms the Productivity Commission has said should occur, including reforms to employment rules hindering the retail sector.

And there is plenty more that State and Territory governments can do.

Business welcomes the opportunity to engage with government on improving Australia's productivity and competitiveness.

The recent COAG Business Advisory Forum showed how government and business can work together for positive economic outcomes. We look forward to engasging further on this important task into the future.