Productivity focus essential to lift wages

24 October 2017

“Treasurer Scott Morrison is right to refocus on the urgent need to boost productivity across the economy – the only way to sustainably deliver better jobs and higher incomes for all Australians,” said Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the Business Council, after the Treasurer released the Productivity Commission’s Productivity Review today.

“Higher productivity doesn’t mean making people work harder for less money. It means working smarter, working better, working more creatively and unleashing the potential of our people.

“Boosting productivity requires investment in new equipment, skills and practices. Yet the Productivity Commission warns that business investment is extremely weak, and that this problem exists across multiple major sectors of the economy.

“Business investment as a share of GDP is at its lowest level since 1994 – the wake of the last recession. Weak investment growth has become a major impediment to continued economic growth and job creation.

“The Treasurer is right: the need for tax reform is now more urgent than ever, particularly now that other major economies including the United States, Britain and France are moving to undercut Australia and suck investment in jobs and wages overseas.

“This is why the business community has been so steadfast in supporting a competitive company tax rate to ensure Australia remains an attractive destination for the highly mobile global capital.

“We need a comprehensive plan to increase our productivity if we are going to create the conditions for wages growth and a growing economy.

“A more productive, more competitive Australia is the only way we will see wages grow and more jobs created.

“Productivity is also about getting better services – Australians are entitled to know that they get value for money when they pay their taxes. No-one wants to see waste in health, education or any other area of government spending.

“This Productivity Review shouldn’t be considered in isolation from other policy initiatives of the government, including on taxes and improving energy reliability and affordability. Both whole-of-economy initiatives will increase our productivity and boost our competitiveness.

“Each proposal from the Commission will need to be assessed individually and on its merits in consultation with relevant stakeholders.”


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