Leading WA business lobby says reform essential for manufacturing sector

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia
has made a set of recommendations for increasing the state’s manufacturing
competitiveness.

Coming at a time where the state’s business sentiment is low
and iron ore and oil prices are hurting the state’s resources sector, the
report – titled The Future of Manufacturing – recommends cuts to and exemptions from
taxes, incentives for R&D, and industrial relations reform.

The Australian Financial Review reports that the CCIWA’s
report recommends company taxes be reduced to 25 per cent, industrial relations be
handled be the federal government, and the threshold for payroll tax be $1.5
million.

The manufacturing sector in WA had performed strongly in the
last decade – growing at 4.8 per cent output annually compared to a national
expansion in the industry of 0.4 per cent. 

Many companies however are tied to the
resources industry, which has recently shed jobs following the slump in iron ore prices.

The CCIWA urged against complacency, and said reform from
the state’s government was needed.

“We can’t afford to say that they grew in what was an
extraordinary period of economic growth in Western Australia so therefore they
are OK,” the organisation’s CEO, Deidre Willmott, told The AFR.

“We are looking to the future and we want to know the
fundamentals are right for these businesses to continue to be here supplying
global markets as much as our local market.”

Last month’s Westpac-Chamber of Commerce and Industry Survey
saw over respondents expecting “poor” conditions for the year’s first quarter,
the third-worst ever result for business confidence in the short-term.

Image: http://www.alphaweld.com.au/

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