THE Australian Industry Group has released its pre-Budget submission calling for a 'significant' revamp of taxation and tendering regulations.
"With an economy that has underperformed for the last decade, the NSW Government needs to deliver policies that will build the growth potential of the State. This should be the focus in the upcoming State budget," Ai Group NSW Director Mark Goodsell said today in releasing the group's pre-Budget submission.
"In the face of significant budgetary constraints, Ai Group believes the Government should remain firmly committed to investing in the NSW economy, with policy measures funded by reprioritising expenditures towards competitiveness-enhancing initiatives and public sector reforms. Also, the NSW Government should carefully evaluate whether there is a case to raise funds through further sales of public sector assets.
"In particular, industry is seeking:
- Substantial tax and regulatory reform in line with recommendations from both the Henry Review and Lambert report into taxation reform;
- Improved government tender processes including commitments that would improve its tender process with the aim of assisting locally-based businesses to competitively tender for government projects;
- Increased funding and better design of industry capability building programs;
- Greater investment in education and training of the NSW workforce as well as more targeted training through reform to the VET system so it becomes more adaptive, flexible and responsive to changes in the economy;
- Measures to facilitate further investments in infrastructure by considering new and effective ways to fund increased public and private expenditure on infrastructure, following the Government's success in getting Parliamentary approval for the sale of electricity generators; and
- A strategic approach by the NSW Government for locally-based businesses to better engage with and operate in emerging Asian economies by encouraging and facilitating trade and investment opportunities.
- "In framing the budget, fiscal responsibility is paramount. The Government should adopt a strategic approach towards fiscal management, explaining the need for additional productivity-enhancing expenditures while presenting a strategy to balance the budget over the near term to ensure the retention of the State's AAA-credit rating.
"Policy initiatives may require higher expenditure by the NSW Government in the short term, however they will improve the fundamentals of the NSW economy and help to lift economic growth.
"The Government's continuing efforts to get better value from state expenditure by reforming the public sector using a customer focus model are vital to delivering fiscal outcomes. Business is a key customer and will gain significantly from better engagement with regulators and policy makers within Government.
"Businesses want the NSW Government to show strong leadership in guiding the NSW economy through times of heightened volatility in the global economic environment.
"While not a budget item, urgent reform of the state's workers compensation scheme is a front-line business and economic imperative which cannot be delayed," Mr Goodsell said.