The Queensland specific results out today are part of CEDA’s nationwide poll of more than 3000 people, Company Pulse 2019, that examines community expectations of business and their views on the most important priorities for business.
The results include community views on ethical business behaviour, business leaders speaking on social and environmental issues and intergenerational differences regarding business priorities.
Commenting on the Queensland findings, CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento said the report found strong areas of alignment but also areas of disconnect.
Ms Cilento said while the results from Queensland were broadly aligned with national results, there were a few key exceptions, the main one being that Queenslanders were more likely to prioritise businesses minimising the impacts of workforce reductions than other states.
“This is unsurprising given the more challenging jobs market prevailing in Queensland with unemployment running at 6.4 per cent,” she said.
“Compared to nationwide trends, Queenslanders are slightly less likely to suggest that large companies should do as much as they can to improve the whole country’s social performance (40 per cent vs 43 per cent nationally) and the whole country’s environmental performance (43 per cent vs 47 per cent nationally).
“However, in line with the national results, more than three-quarters of Queenslanders accepted business leaders speaking out on issues of national importance, including social and environmental issues.
“Queenslanders are also more likely to agree that when large companies reduce their costs they should pass the savings onto employees through higher wages (41 per cent vs 38 per cent nationally).
“With sluggish wages growth, it is unsurprising that Queenslanders, like those in other states, are focused on improving wages.”
Ms Cilento said that while the poll showed favourable perceptions of large company performance across key areas, the community still had some question marks around ethical behaviour of large companies.
“The community and business leaders agree that the public now has higher ethical standards for large companies, but there was less consensus on whether companies are behaving more ethically,” she said.
Ms Cilento said the survey showed that Queenslanders are more likely to believe that unethical or dishonest conduct by large companies will result in government regulation or restrictions (56 per cent vs 53 per cent nationally).
“Interestingly where the general public and business leaders align is shared scepticism around the consequences of unethical conduct.
“Only 30 per cent of the general public, including 30 per cent of Queenslanders, and 42 per cent of business leaders believe the government takes strong action against unethical behaviour. Similarly, most believe that the consequences of a company acting unethically are modest or short term at best.”
“CEDA has undertaken this work to better understand community expectations against the backdrop of declining trust in business and the need to reignite a reform agenda in Australia,” Ms Cilento said.
“We need a reinvigorated reform agenda that will support new investment and opportunities for economic and social development in Australia.
“For reforms to be supported and successful they will need to reflect the insights and needs of all sectors, including business. However, negative community sentiment and lack of trust in the business sector could act as a handbrake on reforms in the national interest.
“A vibrant and competitive business sector is vital to enabling the development and adoption of new technologies that will secure future opportunities for investors, employees and customers.
“Equally, benefits such as improved government services and infrastructure rely on a resilient revenue base supported by a strong business sector paying taxes and playing its part.
“The community and business need to be on the same page if we are to progress policy reform that will deliver benefits to both.
“Our survey shows that there are strong areas of alignment around which trust in business can be rebuilt, particularly if the points of disconnect identified become a focus for serious consideration and engagement.”
Download: Queensland Company Pulse state results
Download: Company Pulse national results
The Queensland results will be presented at an event in Brisbane today at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, from 12-2pm. Speakers include Innovation and Science Australia Chair Andrew Stevens and Ms Cilento. The event is open to media.
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CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation. We identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future and pursue solutions that deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Australia. CEDA's cross-sector membership of 770 spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. CEDA was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland. His legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues to drive our work today
CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.