The Business Council will begin running this evening the first of a series of advertisements throughout Australia explaining why economic reform is vital for Australia’s future.
The ‘Four Reform Steps’ advertisements – on television, radio, newspapers and billboards – follow the release of four key policy documents by the BCA over the past nine months.
These documents detail, through independent and detailed economic research, how taxation, infrastructure, regulation and workplace relations should be reformed to promote economic growth.
Over the past nine months, the BCA has argued that only through reform in each of these areas can Australia maintain current levels of prosperity.
In each of its four action plans, the BCA has recommended a number of policy initiatives that should now be undertaken to make sure Australia’s economy remains globally competitive and can continue to support strong job growth and rising standards of living.
The BCA’s advertisements, which are being paid for by its Members, are aimed at extending this important message to the wider community at a time when reform is uppermost in the community’s mind.
BCA Members employ nearly 1 million Australians, account for 30 per cent of the nation’s exports and contribute approximately $340 billion to the Australian economy.
The BCA therefore has a strong interest in seeing reform that strengthens the economy continue.
The overall message of the advertising is that reforms over the past 20 years have significantly benefited Australia and Australians. The BCA argues that Australia’s future prosperity can not be left to chance and further reform now of tax, regulation, infrastructure and workplace relations is vital.
As the BCA has argued, Australia has a choice – we can face the competition posed by other nations by putting up the shutters, closing our eyes and pretending the rest of the world does not exist.
Alternatively, we can continue to do what Australians have always done: face our competition with confidence, adapt, innovate and work smarter than the others, and by doing so stay ahead.
As the advertisements state:
‘In a competitive global economy Australia must strive to stay ahead or we will fall behind. So we can do nothing, or we can face our competition with confidence and work smarter. We, the Business Council of Australia, have identified the four steps that need to be taken now. One, tax needs to be lowered to reward those willing to work hard and contribute. Two, red tape needs to be cut so business can prosper, employ and train. Three, infrastructure needs be renewed for export, new roads, rail, ports, energy and water. And four, we need to find new ways to work together as employees and employers: we need a new, industrial relations system.’
BCA ‘Four Reform Steps’ Advertisements
An initial 60 second advertisement will go to air from tonight on television stations throughout Australia. Television advertising will continue through November and early December.
Advertisements highlighting ‘The Four Steps that Need to be Taken to Assure Australia’s Future’ will feature on ‘super site’ billboards at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports from Tuesday.
A series of ‘Four Reform Steps’ advertisements in newspapers and magazines throughout Australia will appear next month. There will also be some radio advertising.
A summary of the BCA’s reform agenda follows.
BCA REFORM AGENDA
Workplace Relations Action Plan
Released in February 2005
- While previous workplace relations reforms have increased workplace flexibility and productivity, Australia’s recent productivity performance has been going backwards.
- New round of workplace reforms required to improve productivity performance and underpin further economic growth
- Greater flexibility and choice for employees and employers in making workplace agreements.
- Simplifying workplace relations regulation and removing barriers to job creation.
- Developing a single, national system of workplace relations to remove duplication between state and federal systems.
Infrastructure Action Plan
Released in March 2005
- Australia’s infrastructure has failed to keep pace with economic growth - major shortfalls in energy, water, transport and urban infrastructure which, if unaddressed, will constrain future growth.
- Lack of coordinated policy to make sure the country’s infrastructure keeps pace with the economy and meets our higher standards of living.
- Repairing and boosting vital infrastructure could mean a $16 billion increase in Australia’s economic growth.
The Council of Australian Governments, or an alternative peak intergovernmental body, to:
- Draw up a national integrated infrastructure reform agenda covering urban and rural water, energy, road and rail transport, and urban growth.
- Set down specific roles and responsibilities between levels of government to reduce buck-passing on infrastructure problems and solutions.
- Agree on specific plans and timetables with firm targets for action, and robust mechanisms to prevent backsliding
- Publish an annual state of the nation infrastructure report encompassing all jurisdictions.
Taxation Action Plan
Released in April 2005
- In a number of tax areas, Australia is not competitive. This is impacting upon issues that go to the continuing success of Australia’s economy.
- Governments cannot be wedded to tax structures and rates without considering their impact of their economy’s competitiveness internationally.
- A comprehensive debate needed on the entirety of the tax system that examines reform of the system’s basic structures and overall tax burden.
- Cutting the two highest tax personal income tax rates to 40 per cent over a two year period to encourage, attract and retain highly skilled workers.
- An immediate review of the company tax regime, to ensure Australia does not fall behind in the short term in competing for business and investment.
- A major review of Commonwealth–state tax and spending roles and responsibilities.
- Comprehensive simplification of tax administration and compliance.
Regulation Action Plan
Released in May 2005
- The level of new red tape is now growing at 10 per cent a year – three times as fast as Australia’s rate of economic growth.
- The sheer volume of regulation has overwhelmed the scrutiny and accountability mechanisms that are supposed to ensure quality regulation – much regulation is unnecessary, poorly designed and administered, often without factoring in if the costs outweigh the benefits.
- The regulatory blow-out also poses major drain on public as well as business resources, with the costs to governments of administering their own rules and regulations running into billions of dollars a year.
- Fix the systems that currently create regulation, making sure that all new regulation fully takes account of costs to business, avoids overlap and duplication with existing red tape and is subject to regular review.
- Clean up the stock of existing regulation to improve or eliminate unnecessary, duplicate and outdated regulation.
- Tackle the overall problem of overlap and lack of coordination between the Commonwealth and states, and between states themselves.