Distinguished guests, on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business network I welcome you to the Australian Chamber’s annual dinner.
When the Australian Chamber and its members speak, we speak on behalf of more than 300,000 businesses, large and small who employ millions of people across all sectors of the economy, right across the country.
As the largest voice for small business, we speak for all the wealth creators, risk takers and job makers who share our vision – to make Australia the best place in the world to do business, so that Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.
Today we’ve been blessed with rain. But across much of the eastern seaboard, the opposite has been true and many communities have been gripped by drought.
Attention and compassion has rightly focussed on the plight of farmers. But let us not forget that the business ecosystems of many parts of regional Australia have been severely disrupted by impact of drought.
When a farm fails a small business in the local town is more likely to fail too, and so the impact of adversity ripples through the local economy.
I am proud that our members in states and territories affected by drought have stepped up to provide practical assistance to the businesspeople, the lifeblood of small towns across the country, who are sharing the pain of the drought.
And practical support through sound policy is what the business community needs from government. We applaud the vigour of the advocacy by Mr Morrison and his team for better outcomes for small, medium and family business in particular.
After a strong lobbying effort, we were delighted at the Government’s decision to accelerate the tax cuts for small, medium and family businesses and welcomed the extension of the instant asset write down for small business, for another year.
Do not underestimate for a moment the significance of driving through a meaningful tax cut for businesses with a turnover for up to $50 million per year.
In my home town of Ballarat, I walk around the local lake. The other day I found myself in the company of an old friend, a local businessman, who has grown a small business into a thriving medium sized business with operations across the state providing many jobs.
He told me that the tax cuts would deliver $300,000 more per year of the money generated by his business, money that his firm has made, available to him to invest, to grow, to further succeed.
At a time when Australian businesses are under pressure as never before from competition from overseas and rising costs – reducing tax on business helps business to stay in the game.
Businesses of all sizes across the country are struggling to keep up with the costs of doing business.
Increased energy costs are biting business hard.
We welcomed the Government’s endorsement of some of the recommendations proposed by the ACCC to bring energy costs down.
Action is needed if we want to keep costs down over the longer term. We don’t want our businesses to close their doors, lay off staff, or relocate to other countries where energy doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Affordable and reliable energy must be at the heart of energy policy in Australia.
We support a long term, bipartisan, nationally agreed policy solution, to provide the policy certainty needed to encourage investment, in order to meet Australia’s emission reduction commitments. We believe the NEG plus the ACCC recommendations – “NEG plus” – offers that path.
The skills shortage in our workforce is widening, numbers of apprentices and trainees are falling far short of what we need and what the community expects. Investment in vocational education and training is critical for the employment prospects for millions of Australians and the prospects for success of hundreds of thousands of businesses.
As our population reached the 25 million mark this year, migrants are being blamed for increasing congestion in our cities. That’s led to calls to cut back immigration, even while employers in our capital cities still have job vacant signs on their doors and while regional Australia remains desperate to bring in skilled people.
Migrants don’t take jobs, they create jobs – they fill the jobs, particularly in our rural and regional communities, that Australian are unable or unwilling to do.
Together with effective investment in educating and training Australian’s for the jobs of today and tomorrow, a well-managed and strong migration program is essential to meet the many skills demands of Australia’s modern and diverse economy.
Despite increasing employment, subdued wages growth and high costs of living are fuelling the big unions’ radical agenda to ‘change the rules.’ The push by big unions for a more rigid labour market is the last thing Australia needs to thrive in a fiercely competitive and volatile market.
What we do need is to ensure our workplace relations system better supports competitiveness, delivers flexibility for both employers and employees, and is far simpler.
And we need to make it easier for businesses to hire and manage people.
All of these challenges require strong, stable leadership from both politicians and the business community.
Introduction to the Prime Minister
We are honoured tonight to welcome our nation’s leader, the Prime Minister, the Honourable Scott Morrison MP.
Scott Morrison has established a reputation as a passionate advocate for his local community as well as the person to whom some of the most difficult problems are given to be solved.
As Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, he worked to secure our boarders.
As Social Services Minister, he reduced abuse of the welfare system and put Australia’s social safety net on a more sustainable footing.
In his most recent role as Treasurer, he reduced the deficit, maintained Australia’s AAA credit rating, secured record jobs growth and helped to cut corporate and personal income taxes.
I hope you will forgive me, Prime Minister, if I describe your current responsibilities as your most challenging assignment yet. It is one in which you are eminently qualified to succeed.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the Prime Minister of Australia – the Honourable Scott Morrison MP.
The Australian Chamber is delighted to announce Bryan Clark, Director of ACCI Trade & International Affairs, has been appointed to the Government’s Deregulation Taskforce, announced...
An improvement in employment outcomes as well as an increase in employer satisfaction with higher education graduates shown in the latest national survey have been...
Australia’s largest and most representative business voice, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomes and supports the Australian Governments’ focus on the Indian Ocean...
In response to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)’s claims today that there is a “national insecure work crisis” which is a “national disaster”,...
Workers and the businesses that employ them have every right to be seriously concerned at reported plans by Federal Labor to abolish the Australian Building...
In this upcoming Federal Election year, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s New Year resolution is to convince the next Federal Government of Australia...
The largest and most representative network for Australian businesses, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has welcomed the reduction in trend unemployment, with the...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has welcomed the COAG Energy Council’s recognition today of the importance...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the improvement in the budget bottom line, announced by...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the release of a Government report from the Independent...
The fourth-quarter results of the Australian Chamber-Westpac survey of Industrial trends, released today, show the outlook for Australian industry remains positive, but reinforces the need...
Record instances of law-breaking on Queensland construction sites over the past year reinforce the vital role of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), the...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network has called on political leaders to recognise the benefits that a strong migration program delivers to all Australians...
“Government is to be congratulated for closing a loophole that has created months of uncertainty and called into question the employment of hundreds of thousands...
“New data released today by the ABS confirms that Australians not only have the right to strike but use it, contrary to the exaggerations of...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, today welcomed...
“Parliament should be congratulated for taking an important first step towards repairing our industrial relations system," Scott Barklamb, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has renewed its call to accelerate action through the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) to boost falling...
The Federal Government should drop its plans to introduce the Electricity Price Monitoring and Response Legislative Framework Bill 2018 in its current form, Australia’s largest...
Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has warmly welcomed the vocational education and training (VET) announcements made...