Five priorities for a stronger recovery and more secure economy

Chris Rodwell

CCIWA CEO

The state’s peak business group, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) has released five policy priorities for an incoming government ahead of the 2021 state election.

Building on Australia’s successful management of COVID-19, CCIWA’s recommendations are focused on fostering a stronger economic recovery and a more secure economy, reflecting the response of our vast membership network.

We consider that the immediate policy priorities of an incoming government should be the following.

Relieve the burden of payroll tax on WA businesses: Though WA’s payroll tax threshold was raised in 2019, once a local business reaches around 25 employees, it faces the highest payroll tax burden in the country, 156% higher than if it operated in South Australia. By easing this disincentive, CCIWA’s proposed payroll tax reforms would better enable WA’s businesses and economy to diversify and grow.

Making it easier for women to re-enter the workforce after having children: CCIWA’s report ‘Making Paid Work Pay for Families With Children’ highlights significant economic and social benefits to unlocking the full potential of working parents. A key reform measure is allowing the funding for the delivery of kindy services to ‘follow the child’, as occurs in most other States.

Easing WA’s shopping restrictions: As shown in CCIWA’s ‘Time To Open’ report, easing shopping restrictions is proven to create more jobs and hours of work. Reform would drive foot traffic into shopping precincts, boost small businesses and help level the playing field with online stores. CCIWA surveys show strong majority support from WA small businesses and households, to ease WA’s pre-internet era restrictions on shopping.

Signaling the State is keen to welcome international students as soon as it safe: Building on our COVID-safe status, WA is well-positioned to attract international students. Students and overseas agents are sensitive to messages from political leaders, and a strong positive signal would set WA up to grow this economically vital sector.

Pressing into international markets: Expanding WA’s trade footprint overseas, investing to promote WA brand awareness and establishing a WA Investment Dealbook will help secure the trade and investment opportunities that will catalyse our economic recovery and diversification.

WA is fortunate that strong commodity prices in global markets have flowed through to local businesses, and significant Federal stimulus in combination other measures have bolstering sectors reliant on consumer spend. However, we cannot expect this to continue in the long term. These priority recommendations reflect some of the significant work CCIWA has conducted in the past 12 months, to identify more ways to improve conditions for WA businesses and jobs.

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