CEDA Big Issues survey: future jobs, Budget deficit, tax avoidance and the GST top issues

Preparing for the jobs of the future, while tackling multinational tax avoidance and the Federal Budget deficit remain key issues, according to the results of CEDA’s 2016 Big Issues survey.

Other key results were that there is still strong support for raising or broadening the base of the GST and climate change continues to be a polarising topic for respondents. Click to read the Big Issues 2016 survey results and respondent comments.

CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said this year’s results showed a greater interest in education, skills and competitiveness that likely stems from an increasing focus on how Australia prepares for the jobs of the future and the fourth industrial revolution currently underway.

“Disruption and changing workplace skills and jobs has been a key topic of discussion among CEDA members this year and this has also come through in the survey results.”

On issues to be addressed by the Federal Government, Professor Martin said 68 per cent of respondents ranked returning the Federal Budget to balance by the end of the decade as very important or somewhat important.

“Carrying a significant deficit despite decades of economic growth is ridiculous, particularly given the increasing global economic uncertainty. If there is a major economic shock, Australia will be more exposed,” he said.

“Priorities for dealing with the Federal Budget deficit were addressing multinational tax avoidance, with an overwhelming 86 per cent selecting this option, with raising the GST coming in second. Other top suggestions by survey respondents were phasing out negative gearing and improving public sector efficiency.

“The top response for the aim of reforming the tax system was also addressing tax evasion.

“Broadening the GST was the top ranked response to what should be the priorities for tax reform followed by reducing middle class and business welfare tax breaks. The lowest ranked option was lowering the company tax rate.

“Broadening or raising the GST was also a topic that was prevalent in the additional comments provided by survey respondents this year, showing that while the Federal Government has been reluctant to look at this area it is still top of mind for the business community.”

Professor Martin said one of the most polarising topics in the survey continues to be climate change.

“Almost 25 per cent ranked climate change first as a priority for the Federal Government, but 12 per cent ranked it last, of 11 options. The top ranked overall responses to what should be the policy priorities for the Federal Government in 2017 were addressing a slow growth economy and encouraging innovation,” he said.

“The other key theme coming through from this year’s responses was around innovation, skills and workforce capability.

“The top ranked responses to how Australia can improve its international competitiveness were enhancing our workforce capability through education and training, incentivising innovation and R&D and higher productivity growth. Lowering the company tax rate again ranked last.

“Positively, 74 per cent of respondents said their organisation was responding to the current wave of disruption.

“Ensuring regulation is not a hindrance to digital platforms and innovative businesses and ensuring education and training systems equip students with relevant and current skills were ranked as the top two priorities for the Federal Government to respond to the fourth industrial revolution.”

Professor Martin said only three per cent of respondents ranked first, that the Federal Government should do nothing and allow the economy to adjust by itself.

The annual CEDA Big Issues survey consisted of 10 questions this year and is designed to give a snapshot of the business community’s views heading into the new year. The survey is open for two weeks from mid-November. This year 970 people completed the survey.

Other key results from the survey included:

  • The policy priorities for government in the service sector should be to continue to invest in education to support service sector workforce capability and incentives to small-to-medium enterprises to innovate and undertake
  • More than 50 per cent of respondents said assistance to people with disabilities (including the NDIS) and assistance to the aged (such as the Age Pension) should be off limits when cutting welfare.

 Click here to see the Big Issues survey 2016 results and survey respondent comments.

Media contact:  

Rohana Wood  
Media and Communications Advisor  
Mobile:  0422 762 802   
Email: rohana.wood@ceda.com.au 

Roxanne Punton 
Director External Affairs
Mobile: 0409 532 287
Email: roxanne.punton@ceda.com.au 

CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is a national, independent, member-based organisation providing thought leadership and policy perspectives on the economic and social issues affecting Australia.

We achieve this through a rigorous and evidence-based research agenda, and forums and events that deliver lively debate and critical perspectives.

CEDA's membership includes 750 of Australia's leading businesses and organisations, and leaders from a wide cross-section of industries and academia. It allows us to reach major decision makers across the private and public sectors.

CEDA is an independent not-for-profit organisation, founded in 1960 by leading Australian economist, Sir Douglas Copland. Our funding comes from membership fees, events, research grants and sponsorship.


About CEDA

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. We work to drive policies that deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Australia. We deliver on our purpose by: Leveraging insights from our members to identify and understand the most important issues Australia faces. Facilitating collaboration and idea sharing to invoke imaginative, innovative and progressive policy solutions. Providing a platform to stimulate thinking, raise new ideas and debate critical and challenging issues. Influencing decision makers in government, business and the community by delivering objective information and expert analysis and advocating in support of our positions. CEDA's membership spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. The organisation was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland, and his legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues as we celebrate 60 years of influence, reform and impact across the nation.;