Lifting Productivity the Key to Supporting Jobs Growth

The Business Council of Australia welcomes the renewed focus on initiatives to support jobs growth at today’s forum in Canberra.

The forum highlighted the innovation taking place across the Australian economy and the leadership role being played by many Australian companies.

“A big part of this is to get the policy settings right to unleash productivity and innovation in our economy,” council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott, who attended the jobs forum, said.

“Australia has a huge opportunity to be part of the Asian growth story. But participants from different sectors recognised that we need to pull out all stops to make the economy as competitive and diverse as possible so we can lay a strong foundation for continued jobs growth into the future,” Ms Westacott said.

“We must boost innovation and flexibility in the workplace by continual up-skilling and creating environments that support investment. This in turn will boost productivity,” Ms Westacott said.

“While skilled migration remains important to meet Australia’s labour shortages, we do need to continue a strong focus on education and training to ensure our workforce has the right skills for the future. It is essential that governments and business continue their efforts on these fronts.”

Ms Westacott said the practical and sensible measures announced by the Prime Minister, including a task force to ensure a whole of government focus on job creation, were welcome.

She said jobs growth needed to be further supported by a productivity and competitiveness agenda that includes:

  • a more efficient and competitive tax system to better support growth and investment
  • reduced business costs by cutting the red tape burden
  • joint investment by government and business in skills and training to ensure job readiness and enhanced labour readiness, including implementation of the measures announced in the 2011–12 Budget
  • policies to support the creation by business of high performing workplaces that are innovative, flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances
  • partnerships between government and business to develop and implement a strategy for a more diverse economy
  • infrastructure that is optimised
  • microeconomic reform in government spending areas such as health and education so that governments can continue to provide the essential services the community requires.

“Our shared interest in a high employment, high wage future for all Australians means that we have to work together to plan and pursue a determined course that will strengthen our economy for after the mining boom,” Ms Westacott said.