Business groups seek policy certainty

Marnie Banger
(Australian Associated Press)


Australians need their next government to have a clear and comprehensive plan for the future, according to business groups.

Such a plan will encourage business to invest and help ramp up economic growth, which the advocates argue is key to Australians’ way of life.

The Ai Group says whichever side of politics forms government after the May 18 election will have a chance to “reboot the policy agenda”.

“Setting clear positive policy directions will help lift consumer and business confidence and support investment and jobs growth,” chief executive Innes Willox said on Thursday.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott says people are crying out for a clear sense of where the country is heading.

They want their wages to go up, power bills to go down and certainty that there will be jobs for them in the future because they have the right skills and access to the right opportunities, she believes.

“The ultimate test of fairness is whether we’re ready for the future as a country. Whether we’re staring into the issues that face us, whether we’ve got a plan to get on top of those issues,” she told AAP.

Ms Westacott said the government can also ensure fairness by helping people reach their potential and by tackling disadvantage.

She said improving economic growth is central to all of these goals.

“A high growth environment is the only path towards fairness, because it creates a ‘more for all’ platform,” she said.

The BCA has laid out a “to do” list for the next federal government, while the Ai Group has laid bare its policy priorities.

Both encourage the next government to help Australians get the skills they need to find decent jobs, especially as technology is changing the workforce and increasing automation.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says political leaders must also recognise that small business is a big deal.

Small businesses want better workplace relations settings, lower power prices and a stop to the collapse in skills, which demands more apprentices and trainees, the chamber says.

With stagnant wages growth also a hot election issue, ACCI chief executive James Pearson has warned that will come as more businesses grow and invest, not through heavy-handed regulations.

“Forcing businesses to pay increased wages if they are not affordable is actually a recipe for jobs being lost, not gained.”


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