FEDERAL and state governments should make productivity growth an urgent priority, the Australian Chamber of Commerce says.
This follows the release of the Productivity Commission’s latest report into the living standards of Australians.
“The release of the Productivity Commission’s analysis is a major wakeup call to our federal and state governments,” ACCI chief economist Ross Lambie said.
“The message is clear, unless national action to lift Australia’s dismal productivity growth becomes a policy priority, we put at risk the living standards we are all accustomed to.
“The Productivity Commission’s analysis reinforces the need for governments to identify and act upon opportunities to increase productivity. What we need is policies which enhance the ability of businesses to invest, grow and employ – they will be critical to achieving this outcome.”
“Prime areas for reform include ensuring our regulatory environment is fit for purpose and supporting the private sector in taking risks and investing in an increasingly uncertain and dynamic world.”
Dr Lambie said important initiatives were being pursued, such scrapping “burdensome regulations”, supporting infrastructure and providing incentives for business to invest and employ staff, but further improvements were essential.
“ACCI has made a number of proposals to turbo-charge business investment, particularly in the SME quarter, such as an increase to the instant asset write off scheme,” he said.
“Longer term, we need to encourage political appetite for a review of the tax and transfer system to ensure Australia has a competitive tax system that encourages aspiration and entrepreneurship while at the same time providing adequate funding for social needs.
“Australia can no longer ignore the fact that without solid productivity growth living standards will fall. Governments need to seriously address the productivity challenge now.”