New BCA Policy Agenda

The Business Council of Australia has announced its new policy agenda, agreed by Members at the BCA’s Annual Strategy Forum which concluded yesterday.

Members agreed that its policy and work program would now be configured under the following Task Forces:

  • Business Reform
  • Employment and Participation
  • Education, Skills and Innovation
  • Sustainable Business
  • Trade and International Relations

BCA President, Mr Hugh Morgan, said the new agenda focused around policies that will maintain and improve Australia’s competitive advantage.

Mr Morgan said key outcomes from the BCA’s Scenario Project also played a major role in re-configuring BCA policy, as did the need for business to continue to inform policymakers in areas such as globalisation and population change.

“Much of the BCA’s current agenda, including tax, corporate regulation, education and training and the implications for the economy and business of Australia’s ageing population, will continue to be advanced within the new Task Forces,” Mr Morgan said.

“On the other hand, it is envisaged that much of the agenda for new BCA Task Forces such as the Sustainable Business Task Force will represent new work.”

This Task Force is expected to take responsibility for developing a more comprehensive approach to sustaining strong economic and population growth and the long term requirements and challenges associated with this – for example, infrastructure.

The Employment and Participation Taskforce also includes a combination of new areas of policy focus including labour market relations as well as established policy areas such as skilled migration and increased labour force participation.

“Reforms to employer–employee relations have played a major part in Australia’s economic success, particularly in providing more jobs and other employment opportunities.

“We want to see that progress not only maintained but enhanced, so Australia has the levels of workplace innovation and productivity needed to keep our economy in top gear.”

The BCA’s Chairmen’s Panel, comprising chairs and directors of a number of Australia’s leading companies, will continue to examine and report on issues that naturally fall within the role of chairmen and boards, such as corporate governance.

The BCA’s policy focus on the requirements for a competitive economy will also be the measure by which its Members assess policy announcements by all political parties in the lead-up to the federal election.

BCA Task Forces

Employment and Participation: Mr Michael Chaney, Managing Director, Wesfarmers Limited
Increased workforce participation
Labour market flexibility
State–federal industrial relations arrangements
Skilled migration 

Business Reform: Mr Tony D'Aloisio, Chief Executive Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques
Regulatory reform
Tax reform

Education, Skills and Innovation: Mr David Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Links between business and education
Innovation in the workplace
R&D
Intellectual property 

Sustainable Business: Mr Rod Pearse, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Boral Australia
Population growth and infrastructure
Environmental regulation
Short-termism 

Trade and International Relations: Mr John W.H. Denton, Chief Executive Officer, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Promote business and community awareness of developments in international trade and relations
Develop business priorities for WTO and FTA negotiations

Chairmen’s Panel: Mr Hugh Morgan, President, Business Council of Australia
Corporate Governance
Board issues such as annual general meetings and executive remuneration