President's address to the AGM and introduction to the Prime Minister

25 November 2021


Tim Reed, Business Council President



Business Council of Australia Annual General Meeting




Wednesday 24 November 5.00 – 6.00pm



I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which each of us are located today. For me that is the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation. I pay my respect to their elders’ past, present and emerging.

We’re honoured to be joined by Prime Minister Scott Morrison this afternoon ahead of our Annual General Meeting. Welcome Prime Minister.

Prime Minister, in the past two years I’ve used the opportunity to introduce you to make some more expansive comments but given your time with us today is limited I’ll keep my comments focused on four areas where business and government have worked together over the past year to strengthen the economy and deliver outcomes for Australians.

Firstly, on behalf of BCA members can I thank you and the Treasurer for the common-sense changes you made this year to the Corporations Act. These changes maintain the high integrity of corporate governance that the Australian community expects while allowing businesses to focus on preserving jobs instead of worrying about vexatious class actions.

While not a headline grabber – these types of sensible changes, brought about by close collaboration, are in my mind the hallmark of a government that is working with and on-behalf of the community, ensuring Australia remains globally competitive.

Secondly Prime Minister, I’d like to commend the changes you made to childcare as a crucial first step to fixing some of the barriers that prevent women from participating in the workforce. Today Australia ranks equal first in the world in terms of the education of women, but despite this the economic contribution of women languishes in the sixties. We look forward to engaging constructively with you on further initiatives to tap into the economic potential of women.

Thirdly, as we know, the global momentum towards a net zero economy by 2050 is now unstoppable. In the past 12 months the percentage of global GDP covered by a net zero commitment has grown from 30 per cent to 90 per cent - proudly Australia is a part of this increase.

We appreciate that at both home and abroad this is a challenging, multi-layered issue with many dynamics. Your successful navigation of these complexities to signal a way forward is not underestimated and in this forum is greatly appreciated.

The BCA’s comprehensive plan to decarbonise the economy seeks to leverage the existing government framework, and our analysis accords with yours in recognising the substantial cost to Australians if we do not act and the economic potential for regional Australia as we do act.

We look forward to working with the government on multiple fronts including, driving the uptake of commercially viable technology to bring forward the rate of decarbonisation over the next 10 years; driving further investment in R&D where commercially viable solutions are not available today; building new, green export industries; and ensuring a just and equitable transition for all communities.

And finally, in perhaps the best example of Team Australia – we are now on track to have more than 90 per cent of the community vaccinated by Christmas – an outcome that is better than anyone predicted and one that has underscored our ability to reunite, reopen and recover. 

It would be disingenuous of me to not highlight the degree of challenge that conflicting laws, rules and regulations across our Federation have caused business this year – something that likely frustrated you as much as it did us.

That said, when assessed against the goals that you set out for your Government and the National Cabinet at the start of the year – by business and government working together to allay concerns and promote the benefits of high vaccination rates to all; and to share the cost of vaccinations through vaccination leave, rapid antigen testing, media campaigns – we are now in a much better place than originally planned.

Together, Prime Minister, we look forward to maintaining this spirit of cooperation to ensure Australians remain safe, the borders stay open, we accelerate the recovery and strive to position Australia for the future.

I’d now like to hand over to the Prime Minister.


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