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Business and industry groups have welcomed the announcement the federal government is turning its attention to productivity and is set to begin its second, five-yearly productivity review to develop an actionable road map to assist all levels of governments to make productivity-enhancing reforms.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the review will be completed in the next 12 months and will identify priority sectors for reform, including data and digital innovation and workforce skills.
“I know that the business sector will actively contribute to this, providing their own insights and submissions around what they see as important to lift productivity,” he said.
“To ensure Australians continue to enjoy higher living standards, we need to continue to focus on the task of lifting productivity. Previous reforms brought Australia’s productivity closer to the global frontier, but there is more to do.
“Lifting our productivity will require policy settings that foster a flexible and dynamic economy, that is able to adapt in the face of economic challenges and opportunities.”
Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the upcoming federal budget must fast-track the baton change from the government to the private sector, unshackling business so it can hire, invest, export, innovate and expand.
“This means addressing the speedhumps that threaten to stall the recovery and continue to stand in the way of building a more dynamic, competitive, globally facing and advanced economy,” she said.
“We must reopen our doors to the rest of the world, to bring back the skilled migrants, the investment dollars and bring back students and tourists to our shores. We stand ready to welcome news of the expected imminent reopening of our borders.
“It also means generating the productivity growth needed to underpin growth and support sustainable increases in wages.
“To do this we need to get the conditions right for businesses to invest in the new industries and new technologies that drive higher skilled and higher paid jobs. The most critical challenge is to make sure the skills system gives all Australians access to those jobs.”
Ms Westacott said the review needs to examine the areas holding back productivity gains including skills, investment and regulation.
Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said the announcement was a “most welcome” development.
“It is an encouraging recognition of the central place of improved productivity growth to Australia’s future social and economic development,” Mr Willox said.
“Ai Group recommended the creation of such a roadmap to be included in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.
“The roadmap will be an opportunity to build on the recommendations of the first five yearly report delivered in 2017.
“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to work closely with businesses to respond to these pressures.”