Federal Election 2004

Australia’s peak business group welcomed the announcement today of a federal election for 9 October.

Business Council of Australia’s Chief Executive, Ms Katie Lahey, said the announcement ended a period of uncertainty for business and it was now looking forward to political parties articulating clear and sustainable policies that build on Australia’s economic growth.

Ms Lahey said while Australia’s economic performance over the last decade had been strong, parties should not use this period to roll back hard-won gains or demonstrate complacency about the need for ongoing reform.

“BCA Member companies, and business generally, must have confidence that policies articulated in the next six weeks promote a strong business and investment environment,” Ms Lahey said. “The economic and social gains achieved through sustained reform are all the more reason for political parties to demonstrate a clear vision for Australia, backed up by policies that will support growth, productivity and competitiveness,” she said.

In the coming election, the BCA will be looking for policies that:

  • Increase rather than detract from the flexibility and responsiveness of Australia’s workplace relations environment.
  • Improve domestic competition without a return to protectionist policies for some business sectors.
  • Improve our education system to encourage more responsive training systems and higher retention rates.
  • Provide a framework for sound and sustainable infrastructure and environmental planning.
  • Promote reforms to the tax system so it is globally competitive.
  • Promote flexible regulation rather than a reliance on red tape that constrains business decision-making and investment.

“As a major participant in Australia’s economy, employing nearly 1 million people and generating a third of Australia’s exports, BCA Member companies will have a strong interest in assessing these policies on the basis of whether they are conducive to ongoing growth, investment and job creation.

“Sound and sustainable economic policies are not just necessary for growth but to allow Australia to fund important social policies over the long-term and reward the community with higher living standards.”