It is time to return to the economic reform agenda or we risk being further left behind, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today, responding to the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index Report placing Australia 21st in the world.
James Pearson, Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber said:
“The WEF’s latest Global Competitiveness Index shows that yet again, Australia remains outside the top 20 most competitive nations.
“In just one decade Australia has fallen from 10th to 21st on the Global Competitiveness Index. This year’s report confirms what we already know. Our biggest weakness is in the areas of innovation, tax reform, and workplace relations.
“Australia is blessed with many natural advantages, but this century is characterised by disruption and in an age of disruption you cannot stand still or you will be overtaken.
“The reality is that many other nations have been reforming their economies faster than us.
“This is why we focused our domestic agenda on advocating for policies to improve our competitiveness and get Australia back into the top 10 within the next 10 years.
“We need to reduce our company tax rates to be competitive with the rest of the world and ensure we have world-class domestic policy settings to provide a business environment that unleashes our entrepreneurs.
“We need to provide better assistance to employers to take on apprenticeships and trainees, help industries to grow through better workplace relations, encourage innovation and value for money through competition in government-funded service delivery and ensure we build the transport, communications and energy infrastructure we need.
“We need to remove the barriers to trade, investment and the movement of people that constrain the capacity of Australian businesses to engage in international markets.
“We need to consistently focus on removing red tape, which benefits local businesses, and makes it easier for international businesses to operate in Australia.
“We have seen what happens when our domestic reform agenda stalls, we get left behind and the result is less investment, fewer jobs and missed opportunities.
“This latest report is another reminder that we must return to the economic reform agenda and address the issues that are holding our economy back. Improving our global competitiveness will ensure that all Australians benefit from the increased job opportunities and wage growth generated by a growing, competitive Australian economy.”