Australia’s top business lobby group The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has presented an extensive 190-page economic action plan calling for recommendations on jobs, wages, social services and working conditions.
The report, titled Economic Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity, contains 93 recommendations including details on reforms to taxation, workplace relations, regulation and federal-state relations. The BCA is urging for a comprehensive audit of how taxpayer money is to be prioritised and spent and warns that Australia must learn to live within its means as the mining boom begins to fade. Also on the list of reforms are infrastructure, innovation, energy, population and cities, education and training, industrial relations, excessive regulation and greater global engagement.
Tony Shepherd chair of BCA has said that the area of most importance is regaining a sense of long-term fiscal discipline and the BCA has indicated that “we think that a lack of focus on the long-term national interests is making it harder to take the tough, structural reform decisions that will support growth. Politicians are reacting to the community’s expectations that government will provide more and more, and with the growing pressures of an ageing population.”
The report has identified the two areas in which tough decisions should be made are social spending, and wages and working conditions and propose a comprehensive audit of government spending programs and a review of the overlap between federal and state services. BCA has commented that,”we believe that it is time to review the whole of government in terms of its expenditure, the value we get out of it and, more importantly, what we can afford. Like a household, we cannot continue to live beyond our means. We’re not suggesting austerity or anything like that.”
The release of the action plan comes at a time when the Federal Treasurer Chris Bowen’s is finalising his pre-election economic statement, and the BCA, has stated that they wish to see its agenda implemented, not just by the forthcoming federal election, but into the indefinite future.