The Business Council has released a plan aimed at creating a more resilient Australia, with better jobs, more jobs, higher wages, lower taxes, improved living standards, and lower energy prices.
When businesses are successful, they hire more workers, pay higher wages, keep communities strong, and contribute more revenue to government coffers to pay for the schools, hospitals and services Australians need. A plan for a stronger Australia is a to do list to build a stronger Australia.
This is a plan designed to deliver practical action on the concerns Australians have raised as we've travelled to Adelaide, Broadmeadows, Penrith, Gladstone, Busselton, Toowoomba, Geelong, Townsville, Cairns and Hobart.
The to do list:
- Introduce an infrastructure planning trigger as part of a population plan. This would allow population projections to be used to better inform public infrastructure planning and investment priorities to meet demand in growing communities, instead of playing catch-up.
- Audit the strengths of regional areas, then prioritise and target infrastructure dollars into the centres with the best potential grow. New spending in the right areas means regional centres can attract employers, jobs, services and workers. We need to make the regions more attractive, and we need to take the pressure off Sydney and Melbourne.
- Urgently reform the post-secondary education and skills system. Remove the cultural and funding bias against vocational education and training by moving to a single funding model for both VET and higher education.
- Give every Australian a Lifelong Skills Account for their training and education needs through their working lives, allowing them to choose where, what and when they study.
- Maintain and strengthen the enterprise bargaining system, ensuring it works better for low-paid workers.
- Reject the straitjacket of industry-wide bargaining that limits the ability of employers and workers to adapt to technological change and prevent them from putting in place the conditions that will work for their individual workplaces.
- Grow the economy faster and encourage investment and innovation to drive productivity. Increasing wages cannot be a quick fix, cost someone else a job or force consumers to pay higher prices.
- Keep personal income taxes as low as possible so workers keep more of their own money. We support efforts to tackle bracket creep.
- Fire up investment, by lowering the rate of company tax (in stages) from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all companies.
- Consider introducing a broad-based investment allowance that would stay in place until Australia tackles its uncompetitive tax rate for larger companies. The allowance would apply to all investments that are depreciable under current tax law, such as machinery, equipment, intangible assets and buildings.
- Get power bills down by delivering and sticking to a bipartisan long-term national energy policy. This would deliver reliable, affordable and secure energy.
- Action on climate change must strike a balance between reducing emissions while protecting jobs and living standards, especially in regional Australia. A price signal that places a value on technologies that produce lower emissions is the simplest, most efficient way to drive the investment and innovation needed to move to a lower-carbon economy.
- Increase the single rate of Newstart for those who have been on the payment for a long time and improve the ability of long term job seekers to find jobs and stay in work. We have supported increasing Newstart since 2011 because it is the right thing to do.
- Hold a Productivity Commission inquiry into entrenched disadvantage to find out why some Australians are just not getting ahead. We need to ensure people are getting the right services, and right support so, where they can, they move back into work.
Download a plan for a stronger Australia