We’re performing better than most other nations but the job of shielding Australians from global uncertainty is getting harder, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Today’s national accounts have some good news with workers getting more money in their pockets, but there are storm clouds on the horizon.
“Strong household spending helped keep the economy on track and people in jobs, but as interest rate hikes set in and our productivity rate continues to flounder the risk to Australians grows.
“Wages are coming back but relying on labour shortages and a tight jobs market isn’t sustainable, the only way to ensure Australians can get ahead is with a clear focus on reform that drives productivity.
“If we don’t act to lift productivity by driving investment, innovation and new industries, the hip pocket gains for Australians will be short lived and they’ll continue to fall behind.
“Record prices for our commodities have begun to fall, and that leaves Australians exposed.
“The job of making ourselves a more competitive place to do business, employ and expand is more urgent than ever.
“While the powerhouse mining and construction sectors are helping keep the economy growing, manufacturing went backwards.
“We must pull every lever to boost our competitiveness and attract new investment by building certainty and making ourselves a more attractive place to do business to secure a future made in Australia.
“We can’t control the global economy, but we can act at home to skill Australians, drive investment and supercharge the local economy.
“New complex workplace relations laws and the prospect of big intervention in energy markets risk adding to the uncertainty plaguing the global economy.
“We’ll have to work even harder in other areas to secure Australia’s future.
“National Cabinet must make reviving productivity growth and locking in higher business investment a priority.”