Hockey outlines Coalition plans after the mining boom
Posted : Thursday, August 30, 2012
Improving Australia's productivity and boosting business
confidence would be the key objective of a Coalition Federal
Government, Shadow Treasurer the Hon Joe Hockey told a CEDA
business forum in Adelaide.
Last week's decision by BHP Billiton to indefinitely postpone
its $30 billion investment in South Australia's Olympic Dam mine
indicated the rising level of risk in doing business in Australia,
Mr Hockey said.
Uncertainty about taxes, the introduction of 26 new taxes since
2007 and a rising number of industrial disputes - particularly in
mining and construction - had increased business costs and
sovereign risk attached to investment in Australia, he said.
"The costs of doing business in Australia at the moment are high
and the revenue from commodities is down. It's a pretty simple
equation (for BHP Billiton)," he said.
Mr Hockey said that a Coalition government would focus on:
- Reducing government spending and its demands on capital
- Reducing tax and red tape, including a review of the Australian
- Productivity reform; and
- Closer engagement with Asia - particularly by promoting
bilateral trade relations in agriculture and services and setting a
target of 40 per cent of high school students to study Asian
languages within the decade.
Mr Hockey said declining business confidence was evident in the
latest CEO Forum survey which found 60 per cent of global companies
operating in Australia said policy uncertainty had grown in the
past 12-18 months.
Forty-one per cent of these companies said their parent company
based overseas was now less likely to invest in Australia than they
were 12-18 months ago, while 20 per cent said they were more likely
to invest, he said.
Mr Hockey also said boosting productivity would be a key focus
of a Coalition Government and was critical to maintaining
Australia's prosperity after the mining boom.
"The danger is that our economy will falter now that the
resources boom…is ending unless Australia's previously strong
productivity growth can be restored," Mr Hockey said.
He said the Coalition had a six point productivity plan to:
Return to the news
- Reform welfare and lift workforce participation;
- Reform the public sector;
- Cut red tape;
- Review competition policy to ensure a level playing field for
large and small businesses;
- Ensure commonwealth spending on infrastructure provides value
for money and seek further investment from superannuation funds and
state governments; and
- Improve labour market regulation.