Leaders urged to engage public

by 25 Jun 2008

CALLS FOR more dialogue between Australian industry and the public on economic and social policy have been made by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

In an address to the international community on economic and social values of Australian employers, Peter Anderson, chief executive of the ACCI, said he wanted to avoid a situation where the public feels disengaged from the business community: “simply because, in this day and age of globalisation, more decisions are being made outside the immediate vicinity of local communities.”

In speaking about ACCI’s modernisation,Anderson outlined key economic and social values pursued by ACCI and the employer movement, including a fundamental commitment to private enterprise; an economically responsible social safety net; a proper role for government; the work of the corporate sector as part of society; and freedom of association.

“Too frequently we at ACCI have undertaken work in each of these social policy areas, but only communicated an economic message,” he said. “This needs to change. I am determined that our voice on behalf of Australian business be more rounded, with our economic message in support of open markets and entrepreneurship framed by the relationships that business organisations and employers have with their governments, communities, employees and trade unions.

“In other words, we see business and business organisations as integral to Australian society, not just a part of its economy,” said Anderson.

He concluded his speech by speaking about the importance of globalisation for Australia, given that Australian employers are trading in global markets every day, both here in Europe and the other regions of the world.

He urged business leaders to support the government on the social value of orderly migration programs based on national circumstances.

“If we fail to allow labour to move globally, then we will see a dysfunction between global labour and global capital markets. Inequality will increase,productivity will decline and living standards will fall,” he said.

“Whether our communities debate these issues rationally and without xenophobia or, alternatively, appeal to the lowest instinct will be a measure of political, union and business leadership.”


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