The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the government for economic and small business reform in view of the upcoming election.
ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson today released a reform agenda, focusing on five key areas that ACCI wants the triumphant party to tackle.
Titled Getting on with Business: Reform Priorities for the Next Australian Government, the blueprint from the business industry body contains “literally” 101 ideas for how these five areas can be improved.
The five key areas were the economy, raising productivity and competitiveness, access to global markets, better functioning institutions and support for small business.
“Quite deliberately, supporting small business is a top priority because two million small businesses creating half our national output and employing seven million Australians is, in the words of our election-year message, too big to ignore,” Anderson said.
Anderson is determined to keep the economy at the forefront of discussion in the lead up to voting.
“It is vital that the centre of gravity of the election campaign remains on the economy because responsible economic management and creating new national wealth to pay the bills we are racking up will be the number one task of the next government,” he said.
Within the key categories, the extensive list of recommendations includes a close review of government spending, wider childcare access, lower and better-targeted taxes, public-private partnerships for infrastructure and R&D, tertiary education spending linked to industry skill needs and changes to the Fair Work Act.
It also proposes realistic penalty rates in service industries, restoration of employer incentives for offering apprenticeships and a review of future superannuation levy rises.
“Getting on with Business, both literally and figuratively, involves changes to policy and the way governments interact with the private sector. It’s hard work, but not impossible, because the instinct of private businesses and private individuals is to grow new wealth and employ more people, so long as they are backed-in by their governments,” Anderson said.
Anderson released the blueprint at Parliament House this morning.
Other major industry bodies lobbying the parties for reform include the Export Council of Australia, which wants a trade policy overhaul, stating there is a “dire need” to remove impediments to international trade.
The Australian Made Campaign also made its voice heard earlier this week, pitching to government to work more stridently on improving export opportunities and spending on promotion of Australian-made goods.
A collective of industry bodies, including ACCI, TAFE Directors Australia, the National Association of Apprenticeship Centres and the Industry Skills Councils called on political parties to stop cuts to the apprenticeships sector, which they argue have made the training system less appealing to employers and more difficult for apprentices.