Business leaders join to urge economic reform

Nine key business groups have joined to urge politicians to follow the path of economic reform and “ensure our living standards remain amongst the highest in the world”.

In a joint statement, the business leaders criticised the Prime Minister’s promise of a “dull budget” and the Opposition’s focus on ‘fairness’.

They said politicians of all parties need to learn the great reforms of the Hawke and Keating era on the Labor side, as well as those of the Howard Coalition government; and be willing to make politically unpopular decisions.

The statement was co-signed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Food and Grocery Council, National Farmers Federation, Property Council of Australia, the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Pipeline Industry Association, and Restaurant and Catering Australia.

“The structural reforms of the Hawke and Keating era unlocked competitive forces in the economy that helped raise real wages and contributed to average incomes doubling in real terms since 1975,” the statement read.

“Hawke and Keating floated the dollar, slashed tariffs, sold off surplus assets, established superannuation and moved towards a decentralised industrial system of enterprise bargaining.”

The statement added that The Howard and Costello years continued structural reforms and undertook substantial fiscal repair getting the budget back into the black, paying off the national debt and establishing a Future Fund to offset government liabilities.

“Howard and Costello reformed the waterfront, introduced individual agreement making and secured a Goods and Services Tax in lieu of inefficient state and federal taxes,” it said.

The leaders said that “…our leaders must stand on the shoulders of these reform giants and ensure our living standards remain among the highest in the world."