THE AUSTRALIAN Government needs to focus on long term reform agenda, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) Chief Executive Heather Ridout has announced in response to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index rankings released on October 9.
Australia was ranked 18th out of 134 countries for 2008-09, which compares with Australia’s 19th ranking out of 131 countries in 2007-08.
“The factors underlying Australia’s 2008-09 WEF ranking show that while we need to manage our way through the current crisis and focus on the short term challenges, which are compelling, we also need to keep focus on the longer term reform agenda,” Ridout said.
“The WEF report highlights the areas where Australia needs to focus to build our long-term competitiveness and resilience to the kinds of economic shocks which are currently buffeting the world economy.”
Ridout also said that in the current global economic uncertainly, it is “encouraging” that Australia ranks 6th on one of the 12 “pillars” of the global competitiveness ranking — that of financial market sophistication.
“Within its financial markets, Australia ranks third for securities exchange regulation and legal rights and fourth for the soundness of its banks,” Ridout said.
“On five other “pillars” Australia ranks in the top 15 (public and private institutions; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; and labour market efficiency).
“Australia’s long-term competitiveness and resilience to both structural and cyclical changes in the world economy depend on its ability to lift productivity and be flexible.
Improvement in areas such as innovation, infrastructure and business sophistication is crucial to building flexibility and resilience. The Global Competitiveness Index rankings point to the need to keep striving to lift our performance in these key areas,” she added.
Australian Industry Group is a Partner Institute of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Programme and is responsible for carrying out the Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey in Australia.