Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott delivered these remarks at the conclusion of the National Reform Summit in Sydney on 26 August 2015. The Summit was jointly sponsored by The Australian, The Australian Financial Review and KPMG.
Check against delivery.
Let me start with two critical take outs.
First, as we head into an election year, the summit has called on both the major political parties to articulate a vision and a direction in the four areas we’ve focussed on today.
We will not stand by and have the next election be a race to the bottom of the things politicians will not do.
We expect to see an action-oriented reform agenda from both the government and the Opposition.
Second, the big areas of agreement our groups have reached at this point should not be underestimated:
• That the task at hand essentially comes down to growth.
• That it is increasingly urgent and cannot be delayed.
• That the productivity challenge is an extremely difficult but fundamental driver of growth.
• The need to focus on innovation as the fundamental driver of productivity growth.
• The interconnection between the areas we have focussed on.
For example, if we do not address the fiscal challenge, our degrees of difficulty in achieving everything else will be so much greater.
Let me turn to what the Business Council participants will take forward from today.
First, we commit to working with others to design and publicly explain a tax package. We will model it so people are clear about the trade-offs.
We will step up our efforts in addressing barriers to participation, for young people, for older people, and for people with disabilities.
We will also work with educational institutions to define the 21st century skills we’ve been talking about today that will allow people to work and be creative and productive, so they can both benefit from, and contribute to, the Australian economy.