Statement on the Federal Election

The Business Council of Australia congratulated the Coalition on its re-election to government.

BCA President, Mr Hugh Morgan, said the election result underscored the importance of economic stability and growth for many Australians.

“These are key issues for the community, as they are for business, and the BCA urges the government to make the most of its renewed mandate and establish a broad reform agenda that sets the context for Australia’s long-term growth,” he said.

Mr Morgan said the government’s position in both Houses of Parliament was a unique opportunity to tackle major issues that remain outstanding, or are now emerging that could act as a brake on future growth.

These include:

  • Ongoing tax reform to ensure that business and individual tax regimes remain an incentive, not a barrier to growth and competition.
  • Further deregulation of workplace relations that underpins sustained productivity gains.
  • Addressing skill shortages that threaten to curtail growth in key sectors of the economy.
  • Further reforms to education and training that improve Australia’s skill competitiveness.
  • Developing a national population policy that addresses Australia’s ageing and shrinking workforce, with specific emphasis on skilled immigration.

Mr Morgan said it was also imperative that proceeds raised from any further privatisation of Telstra should be used to fund long-term initiatives, such as comprehensive tax reform or national building projects that improved Australia’s competitiveness on a sustainable basis.

“Australia has done extremely well in recent years, thanks to successive reforms over the last two decades.

“A number of significant challenges for the nation remain, which if not addressed, will be increasingly difficult to respond to, and risk reversing the gains that have stood our economy and business environment in good stead.

“BCA Member companies employ nearly 1 million Australians, account for a third of Australia’s export efforts and contribute a significant share of the $40 billion in annual corporate taxes that have funded much of the tax cuts and spending promised in recent months.

“As a result, the BCA and its Member companies have a major stake in making sure government, business and the wider community work together to get these big issues right.”

“While these reforms may not be politically popular or seem necessary in the short term, they are vital if Australia is to set the context for sustainable growth.

Mr Morgan said the ALP’s workplace relations agenda and other policies to over-regulate companies had been a major focus of concern for business before and during the election campaign.

The BCA urged Labor to reconsider its position in these areas if it was to play a meaningful role in the reform debate.