Employers call on next government to 'back Australian business'

Chamber of Commerce says companies can no longer afford to be complacent amid poor productivity

Employers call on next government to 'back Australian business'

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the country’s “largest and most representative voice for business,” has called on the next federal government to “Back Australian Business,” a campaign that it launched alongside the federal election.

With the campaign, businesses and employers aim to achieve “a practical plan that empowers business to grow,” whether the next federal government would be Coalition or Labor.

In a media release, the ACCI said that the said campaign seeks to address three priority issues:

  • Ensuring all businesses and the Australians they employ have access to the skills to grow Australia’s prosperity now and into the future.
  • Boosting labour force participation, enabling Australians who want to work to get into jobs.
  • Taking the pressure off small business by reducing the regulatory and compliance burden, easing cash flow pressures, and boosting growth and employment opportunities.

It will be delivered in conjunction with state and territory chambers of commerce, national and state industry associations, and local chambers of commerce.

“Listening to Australian businesses, big and small, we know they want an ambitious agenda that sets the context for sustaining growth, increasing productivity, and boosting international competitiveness in the decades to come,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“We need the major parties to look beyond the immediate short-term and campaign for a positive policy vision that ensures our continued economic resilience,” he said.

ACCI said that employers “can no longer afford to be complacent,” saying businesses are suffering “languishing investments” and “poor productivity performance” that “must be reversed to avoid stunting our economic recovery at a time when building momentum is critical.”

“With acute skills and labour shortages at their worst in 48 years, a comprehensive strategy is needed to grow our nation’s workforce.  Businesses are nothing without the people they employ,” McKellar said.

He also addressed the consequences of COVID-19’s onslaught on small business owners. “Two years of lockdowns and restrictions has meant many business owners are only just keeping their head above water. Given 98 percent of all businesses are small businesses, we must have the right regulatory environment to ensure they can flourish,” McKellar said.

ACCI’s membership represents approximately 500,000 businesses, so it argued the need for proper policies regardless of the employer's size. “From the largest corporations to your local café, businesses big and small, need the right policy settings to ensure they can thrive,” he said.

“The 2022 federal election provides a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a better future where Australian business can realise their economic potential.  For the benefit of all Australians, let’s not waste it,” McKellar said.

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