Address by James Pearson, Australian Chamber CEO
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I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to Elders Past and Present.
President of the Australian Chamber Jeremy Johnson, Board Members, Minister Birmingham, Shadow Minister Carr, Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament and members of the Australian Chamber, it is a great honour to warmly welcome you to this reception to open our fourth Business Leaders Summit.
At a time of political turbulence, when politicking seems to trump good policy, it’s more important than ever that political leaders and businesspeople talk with each other. So it’s heartening to see so many parliamentarians from all parties here to listen to the business community.
This year we are honoured to host exceptional panelists and speakers from across the political spectrum, from both the public and private sectors.
We have a record number of members of the Australian Chamber and of our Business Leaders Council joining us this year. Your presence and your engagement reflects the growing breadth and depth of the Australian Chamber network..
We are the nation’s largest and most representative business network. We are recognised for our thoughtful and assertive advocacy for small and medium enterprises. And when we speak, we speak on behalf of more than 300,000 enterprises, large and small, who employ millions of people across all sectors of the economy and in every part of our country.
We want to make Australia the best place in the world to do business; so Australians have the jobs, living standards and opportunities to which they aspire.
And that starts with putting in place policies that energize the engine room of our economy – business, including small, medium and family businesses.
These are the smaller businesses that sometimes to struggle to be heard in the great policy and political debates that affect them. It is sometimes said that if you are not at the table, then you are probably on the menu. It’s the Australian Chamber’s job, as Australia’s largest voice for small business, to make sure that they are not just heard, but listened to.
Australia is blessed with many natural advantages but we live in an age governed by disruption, and in an age of disruption we cannot afford to stand still or be complacent.
As our trading partners and our international competitors grow stronger and get smarter, so must we.
It’s important, now more than ever, that we put in place the right policies to help business create, and sustain, jobs, and provide competitively priced goods and services to benefit the communities we serve.
Tomorrow, our expert panelists and speakers will tackle some of the big issues Australia’s businesses are facing – high energy prices, shortages of skilled Australians, cumbersome industrial relations and the shape of the future of work.
I hope these discussions bring us all one step closer to the political, economic and workplace reforms that businesses need, to give them the confidence to risk their money by investing, provide livelihoods by creating more jobs and increase Australia’s wealth by operating profitably and successfully.
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