PM urged to address business issues

by Chloe Taylor17 Sep 2015
Business groups have called on new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to start the process of addressing workplace policies.

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told radio program AM that the time had come for a new beginning.

“This is an opportunity for some renewal and some refreshment around the political and the policy debate,” he said.

“All within the business community look forward to seeing what the new Government, under the new prime minister, can deliver both in terms of tone and in terms of outcome to make Australia a more productive and competitive place.”

He added that the business community was not expecting any big changes.

“We're less than a year from an election, so I think the first thing that you could really expect is perhaps a change in tone, laying out some of the challenges that we have and so that we have a no surprises approach to the next year.”

Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said that the new government needed to increase Australia’s rate of change.

“Recently business, the unions, the community sector got together at the National Reform Summit to look at a range of the sorts of reforms we want to see happen,” she said.

“Unless business is confident, they don't invest, they don't employ and what Australia wants from business is more employment.”

Cutting red tape

The MD of one start-up suggested that Turnbull’s appointment should bring a greater focus to the tech space – and cut red tape.

“The overall compliance landscape is quite burdensome ... so any reducing of unnecessary compliance is crucial,” he said.

“Businesses also need to be incentivised to hire people and to take more risks. If the government wants to be progressive and to take more jobs, it needs to make it advantageous from a business perspective.”

The positivity expressed towards Turnbull’s new position was seemingly agreed upon by companies of all sizes.

PwC Australia’s CEO Luke Sayers commented that Turnbull's initial stance seemed encouraging.

“It is vital that government makes the case for a stronger nation and this means getting on with cementing our free trade agreements, restoring the budget position, fundamentally reforming our tax system and fostering a culture of innovation,” he said.

“These are the issues that the Australian business community will ultimately judge this government on above all else.”

Improving the tech sector

Tech start-ups are also calling upon Turnbull to reform Australia’s technology sector, with demands that he reduce red tape, implement tax incentives and appoint a technology minister.

Matt Barrie, CEO of Aussie start-up Freelancer.com, told Fairfax Media that he would like to see the PM acknowledge that the technology industry was a “key productivity and wealth multiplier” for Australia.

“I would like Malcolm to commit to a determined effort to assist the sector so that longer term, it provides a meaningful contribution to the GDP of the country,” he said.

“A federal ministry for technology should be on equal weighting with the Ministry for Communications or Ministry for Science and in cabinet.”

Seek’s co-founder Paul Bassat said that the change in leadership could be a sign of positive change for the tech sector.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have a Prime Minister that's passionate about technology but also literate,” he told Fairfax.

“Looking at countries that have become very important in terms of the tech ecosystem in the past 10 to 20 years, you think of Israel and to some extent, Singapore,” he added.

“Smart funding and tax policies have been a centrepiece of their ecosystem.”
 
 
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