ACCI warns Australia's living standards are in jeopardy without budget repair
A major business lobby group has warned that living standards in Australia are in jeopardy without significant budget repair.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has jumped on research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) which shows Australia has tumbled in a key ranking for global competitiveness.
According to the OECD, Australia slipped from 10th position to 21st over the past decade, coming in behind the tiny European nation of Luxembourg.
ACCI’s newly-appointed chief executive James Pearson told the ABC’s AM program that Australia’s demise on the competitiveness scale was “unacceptable”, and risked living standards.
“Australia’s global competitiveness must improve or we risk sacrificing the high living standards which we, our parents and our children have come to expect,” Mr Pearson said.
“We are an economy in transition and a nation at the crossroads. We cannot be complacent.”
Ten-point plan to boost competitiveness is ‘bipartisan’
The chamber, which represents more than 300,000 businesses, will today unveil a ten-point strategy to boost global competitiveness and the path to budget repair.
The plan appears to back the Coalition’s economic agenda, with a lower company tax rate of 25 per cent over 10 years, tax reform and the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
However, James Pearson told AM the proposal was bipartisan and aimed at protecting Australia against global shocks.
“Whichever party becomes the government after this election has it within their grasp to commit to sensible reform,” Mr Pearson said.
“It is also vital that parties throughout this campaign demonstrate economic responsibility. Every dollar of additional tax places a bigger burden on future generations.”
Mr Pearson also rejected suggestions that the return of the ABCC was the restoration of WorkChoices, the controversial industrial relations laws introduced by the Howard Government, under a different name.
“WorkChoices is a ghost story told by the union movement. It really belongs to the past,” he said.
“The Fair Work Act alone has around a thousand sections, over 200,000 words. That’s hardly streamlined system.”