Recovery plan misses opportunity to build business confidence

The State Government has missed a valuable opportunity to build business confidence today by not providing sufficient detail on its plan for the economic recovery of Western Australia. While it committed a further $2.7 billion in spending measures as part of the WA Recovery Plan, details of the bulk of the additional spending are yet to be announced.

The private sector is responsible for creating four out of every five jobs in this State. While we recognise the State Government’s existing assistance to businesses through payroll tax relief, regulatory reform and some targeted spending measures, businesses need clarity on measures that will provide cost relief and further reduce their regulatory burden, in order to have the confidence to invest and create jobs.

The plan does not provide any signal to the business community in relation to tax reform. Going further to address structural issues, not just in WA but nationally, and to foster real job creation, will be critical to our economy as we face the prospect of reaching an unemployment rate in the double digits. The plan identifies the issue of job creation as key across the economy, however it is important to distinguish the creation of new jobs from the restoration of those that were suppressed by the pandemic and restraints on business.

The WA business community understands acutely that this pandemic is the most destructive economic event since the Great Depression. The business community provided some initial input to the WA Recovery Plan through the State Recovery Advisory Group. This work informed the COVID-19 Impact Statement prepared by State Recovery Controller Sharyn O’Neill. With success so far on the health challenge of containing the pandemic, the economic challenge must now become a priority. In the latest WA Super CCIWA Business Confidence Survey 98 per cent of businesses said a clear plan to grow the economy and undertake meaningful economic reform would improve confidence.

WA cannot overlook the need to cultivate more fertile ground for business growth and job-creation, by keeping costs down through improved tax and regulatory conditions, strengthening our skills and infrastructure and preparing to re-engage with the global market. CCIWA’s Recovery Reform Roadmap includes a suite of measures aimed at creating a more competitive business environment, a number of which the State Government has already implemented. CCIWA urges the State Government to consider implementing further measures from CCIWA’s Roadmap, and looks forward to the release of the full detail of its Recovery Plan.

 

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