As Australia grapples with gathering economic headwinds and a global inflation crisis, the Business Council is today releasing a checklist of practical, achievable and fast reforms to reduce costs and unleash economic growth.
“Releasing the handbrakes on growth puts forward the urgent and less complex reforms that can help clear bottlenecks and blockages that are a drag on our economic growth and make cost of living pressures worse for Australians.
“We can’t solve every complex problem now, but we can and must grasp every piece of low-hanging fruit to keep our recovery going and make sure growth delivers for Australians.
“Every barrier to doing business increases costs, sees consumers pay more and makes it harder to build our economic momentum.
“These are the things we can do now, and every little bit helps.
“For example, paperless international trade alone could lift GDP up to $1.7 billion a year and reduce costs, so why don’t we just get on with simplifying our trade system.
“Every product that can’t get to market because we don’t have truck drivers or that we can’t get through our congested ports adds another dollar to the bills Australians pay at the checkout.
“Sea freight costs have surged several hundred per cent compared with pre-pandemic pricing and services remain relatively unreliable, so why wouldn’t we look at ways to simplify and strengthen the system.
“Just as we did at the height of the pandemic, it is critical that state and federal governments consider axing unnecessary red tape that makes it harder to get products on shelves and things done.
“We’ve identified a set of quick wins that can help clear the path for our recovery, including:
Managing workforce shortages
- Get people into the country by expediting visa processing, including through additional resourcing and relaxed eligibility checks based on a risk management approach.
- Get trucks back on the road and moving goods around the country by prioritising reforms to heavy vehicle driver training to help ease the chronic shortage of truck drivers.
- Extend the relaxation of restrictions on international students’ maximum working hours through to the end of 2022.
- Pilot a Lifetime Skills Account to support upskilling and reskilling for Australians over the age of 30.
Getting products to market quickly and efficiently
- Develop a detailed National Rail Freight Strategy that articulates future investment priorities in the National Rail Freight Network.
- NSW has committed to permanently lift restrictions for deliveries and non-trading activities in industrial and business zones. The NSW approach should be adopted nationwide by states with more restrictive settings.
- Continuing work to make it easier to recognise updated trusted overseas product safety standards in Australia, while maintain safety standards for consumers.
“In the lead up to the government’s Jobs and Skills Summit, we can’t take our eye off the little things because, put together, little changes count.
“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.”