The October federal budget is a crucial opportunity to build on Australia’s strong starting position and outline a practical recovery roadmap that puts the country on track for the future, according to the Business Council of Australia’s pre-budget submission released today.
“We have managed the COVID crisis relatively successfully compared with other countries, but we can’t waste a moment to prioritise the creation of new jobs, help people back into work and get businesses back up and running,’’ Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Every dollar we spend must focus on creating new jobs, increasing investment, growing the economy and solving major social challenges. Every dollar must enable the country to recover and move forward.
“Our economic recovery depends on finding ways to work alongside the virus while measures to control the health impacts continue.
“The job creation task ahead of us is massive. We need to generate about 1.5 million new jobs – more than 10 per cent of the pre-COVID workforce - to replace the jobs and hours lost during the pandemic and the jobs at risk as the economy restructures.
“Every month of delay is a lost opportunity. One month of emergency supports costs more than one year of tax reform.
“Our budget submission calls for an injection of fresh energy on creating new jobs, building new industries and new markets so we can rebuild our economy on the other side of this crisis.
“Now is the time to shift from emergency support to funding sustained growth and taking the crucial steps to strengthen the economy and make it more internationally competitive.
“We need to act now, not sit in the slow lane while the rest of the world moves on with recovery.
“Recommendations include a 20 per cent investment allowance, which would lift business investment by about $200 billion and create about 500,000 additional jobs over a decade.
“An investment allowance would cost about $10 billion a year – less than the cost of one month of JobKeeper payments. It would turn around our investment drought and create jobs versus standing still.
“To protect existing jobs and create new ones, we need to immediately take steps to reverse the dramatic freefall in business investment and halt the exodus of investment offshore.
“For the next three to five years, we will need to learn to live with debt, but only where it is an investment in rebuilding our economy and society.’’