Business Council Statement on Budget 2017-18
9 May 2017
“Treasurer Scott Morrison has delivered a practical and workable Budget in the face of sustained political gridlock in Canberra that has stifled much-needed, wider reform,” said Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
“This Budget lays the foundation for better living standards and greater opportunities for Australians. But achieving its projected outcomes will rely on the economy and particularly the business community doing the heavy lifting.
“We welcome the Government’s discipline in restricting real spending growth to 1.9% over the forward estimates.
“But make no mistake. There are still big vulnerabilities in Australia’s fiscal position. After almost a decade of deficits, the projected surplus is fragile and reliant on revenue measures, with the structural work necessary to slow the rate of spending yet to be done.
“With the Budget still reliant on economic growth over the medium term, our business community, which employs 10 million of the 12 million working Australians, now sits squarely at the foundation of future prosperity.
“If business activity falters, we may be left with a house of cards.
“That is why we commend the Government’s re-commitment in this Budget to delivering the remainder of its Enterprise Tax Plan, to help Australia remain competitive in the global race for investment. We know this is the most effective way to increase productivity, drive jobs growth and increase incomes for Australian workers.
“However, the banking levy effectively represents double-taxation of some of Australia’s most successful companies, which already pay $11 billion in company tax each year, employ about 130,000 Australians and contribute to the superannuation of millions more.
“We recognise the impossible position in which this Government finds itself, with a Senate and Opposition that have raised Australians’ expectations of big spending measures with no means to pay for them.
“But imposing a tax on some of the institutions that helped Australia weather the Global Financial Crisis creates a worrying policy precedent. We cannot afford to drift towards Mining Tax 2.0.
“On balance, this Budget and the Turnbull Government’s broader economic policies remain the only credible plan to drive economic growth and ensure that Australia can continue to afford the quality of services we expect.
“The Business Council now calls on all members of Parliament to break the gridlock of recent times. Australia’s political representatives cannot continue to peddle false hope and insist on greater spending measures, while resisting sensible steps to make our economy grow faster,” Ms Westacott said.