More than 70 chief executives representing the nation’s biggest employers are meeting with government and opposition this week to discuss priorities for a more competitive economy and strategies to lift business investment and income growth.
The Business Council’s annual meeting with federal MPs and senators has been brought forward this year in recognition that parliament will be debating laws crucial to national prosperity including the Enterprise Tax Plan.
The Business Council has been a strong supporter of the Enterprise Tax Plan and commends the Prime Minister for his unwavering leadership on this issue.
“I’m seeking to understand the reasons why the Labor Party no longer supports company tax reductions, having previously strongly supported it. I’m concerned that this change of heart is driven by populism, rather than good policy,” Business Council president Grant King said.
“This plan is about improving the return-on-investment so that investors, who have the option to put their money here or elsewhere, will choose Australia.”
The heads of companies including Qantas, Energy Australia, Rio Tinto and Mirvac will meet with ministers on Wednesday and Thursday to highlight the urgency of maintaining a competitive business environment that attracts investment.
“Business wants to step up to create the conditions for higher incomes, employ more people and invest in Australia but we are being held back by high taxation, stifling regulation and increased energy costs,” Mr King said.
“This is putting our capacity to create jobs and pay higher incomes at risk and we need urgent recognition across the parliament that our economic growth and the success of businesses – small, medium and large – cannot be taken for granted.
“CEOs will be having detailed discussions with the government on energy, the budget and the future of vocational education and training.
“Business leaders hope to forge stronger relations with Labor MPs and highlight the risk of an anti-business agenda which will lead to low growth, low wages and lower living standards over time."
Mr King said the Enterprise Tax Plan needed to be passed in full.
“As CEOs of some of Australia’s largest businesses, we know that when we have the right conditions our companies will continue to drive investment, create jobs, deliver higher incomes and invest in training to support the skills of their people,” Mr King said.
“If this bill isn’t passed, there’s no Plan B other than hiding under the doona and pretending that global investors can’t take their money overseas. This would most harm those workers who need better jobs and higher wages to support themselves and their families.
“Any equivocation or delay in passing the government’s full company tax plan won’t send the necessary signals to investors that Australia is open for business.”