Australia must seize the moment

31 January 2023

The Business Council’s 2023-24 budget submission calls for reform to boost economic growth, get the national credit card under control and secure the future for Australians, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said. 

“The next budget is a crucial chance to transition the nation away from the pandemic reliance on government and to unleash the private sector, lift incomes and start paying down debt.

“This is about driving businesses to invest, making sure we don’t leave anyone behind and delivering the things Australians want with faster economic growth and better opportunities.

“We’re outlining a set of actions to drive investment and fuel the productivity needed to deliver higher wages, strengthen existing industries and build new ones.  

“Right now, we have a window to begin reshaping our economy, create new and better jobs, equip people with world-leading skills and pay higher wages.

“After the NSW election in March we will have almost a year and a half long election-free window, meaning we can get to work on reform without being distracted by politicking.

“We have an opportunity to do the work needed to create new and better jobs, equip people with world-leading skills and pay higher wages.

“But to deliver these things we’ll need a laser-like focus on lifting the business investment that delivers new industries and new ways of creating value and that makes our existing industries stronger.

“Support is needed for the major projects with the big multiplier effects through the economy and ongoing investment incentives, including for energy projects.

“We can’t decarbonise, adopt new technology, digitise or aim for a future built in Australia if we don’t drive businesses to invest.

“We need to do everything we can to encourage big companies to make the large investments that will transform the economy, smooth the path to net zero and set us up for growth.

“While Australia has recovered from the pandemic better than most we can’t afford to falter, because that will leave Australians vulnerable.

“At the same time as we do these things we need to put the fiscal rules back in place and rebuild a budget position that drives certainty and gives us the capacity to shield Australians from global economic uncertainty.

“Government will need to come to terms with the spending challenge by innovating, using technology and delivering services smarter to deliver taxpayers value for money.

 The Business Council’s key budget recommendations

 Getting the national credit card back in order and delivering taxpayers value for money by:

  • Putting fiscal rules in place and putting in place an independent authority to monitor them. 
  • Deliver a long-term strategy to return the budget to surplus, rather than let the spending and tax shares of the economy drift up.
  • Establish a clear strategy to drive growth in the economy, restore dynamism and lift productivity.

 Supercharging economic growth by:

  • Putting in place a broad-based, permanent investment allowance applicable to all investment depreciable under current tax law.
  • Kicking off a new campaign of microeconomic reform to remove barriers and blockages that hold back businesses and put a handbrake on growth.
  • Building the industries of the future through the National Reconstruction Fund, particularly in the regions.
  • Enhancing skills and training with the Trusted Trainer model to skill up Australians and attract the best, most skilled workers from around the world.
  • Reducing barriers and disincentives that keep people out of the workforce with paid parental leave reform, foundational skills guarantee and by staying the course on childcare reform.

 Growing the revenue needed to fund the services Australians expect by:

  • Supporting profitable businesses who pay the taxes needed to fund services and pay down debt.
  • Staying the course on the legislated three stage Personal Income Tax Plan.
  • Extending immediate expensing beyond this year’s expiry.
  • Implementing the patent box tax regime designed to encourage investment in the innovation and technologies of the future.

 “These reform ideas are designed to be practical and actionable.

“If implemented, they would represent common-sense reform wins that would help propel the Australian economy forward, keeping the recovery on track and locking in sustained long term economic growth.”

Read the full submission here.


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