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Business Council says Australia's failure to pass corporate tax cuts a 'colossal mistake'

Posted by On 1:17 AM

Business Council says Australia's failure to pass corporate tax cuts a 'colossal mistake'

Business (Australia) Business Council says Australia's failure to pass corporate tax cuts a 'colossal mistake'

Jennifer Westacott says it’s ‘bitterly disappointing’ the Coalition’s plan to cut big business taxes to 25% did not succeed

Jennifer Westacott
The Business Council of Australia chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, says the government should do ‘something meaningful on investment or depreciation allowances’. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Failing to pass big business tax cuts was a “colossal mistake” that would put Australia at an international disadvantage over the next decade, the Business Council of Australia has said.

The BCA chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, said the government should do “something meaningful on investment or depreciation allowances” in the absence of the tax cuts. She also called for an inquiry into entrenched disadvantage and rejected union demands for more control over pay deals.

Westacott said it was “bitterly disappointing” that the Coalition’s plan to cut big business taxes to 25% had not succeeded. The bill was blocked by the Senate, prompting Malcolm Turnbull to ditch the big business component and opening the way for Scott Morrison to accelerate small and medium business tax cuts instead.

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“I think it is a terrible mistake, a colossal mistake that the parliament has made and we will see in 10 years’ time how well the Aust ralian economy fares as country after country lowers their rate and draws in more investment,” she said.

Westacott suggested if the parliament was “incapable of lowering the company tax rate for all companies” then the government should do “something meaningful on investment or depreciation allowances”.

Westacott noted that Labor was proposing an increased investment allowance â€" to double tax deductions on investment â€" parts of which she said were “very good”, but allowable deductions needed to be “broader”.

“We also have to tackle badly designed regulation and remove the barriers to starting new businesses and employing more people.”

Westacott noted the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ demands for industry-level bargaining. She argued that standard conditions across all companies would be “unworkable” and would hurt workers in the regions and the least skilled.

Asked whether the BCA thought current industrial law s were adequate for the changing nature of work, Westacott reiterated its submissions to the 2015 Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace laws.

These included restricting union right of access to work sites, reforming the better-off overall test for making workplace deals, which Westacott labelled “unworkable”, and improving individual flexibility arrangements.

Westacott suggested the number of awards should be slashed from the current 122, and called for a reduction in enterprise agreement content because “the more you’ve got to negotiate as part of a complicated process, the more you will slow things down”.

Westacott acknowledged the industrial relations system needed to protect “basic rights and conditions such as the minimum wage, leave and entitlements and a fair and transparent process for dismissal”.

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Research by the consultancy AlphaBeta showed that job losses from automation were “no higher today than in previous peaks over the past 50 years”, Westacott said, but Australia needed to be ready to adapt to the changing nature of work.

Skilled jobs where workers performed different tasks than just five years ago were less vulnerable to redundancy, whereas those who could not perform new tasks experienced a higher level of job losses.

Low-skilled men over 55 in construction and manufacturing, in the regions, parts of the financial services sector and women in “undervalued” jobs were the most vulnerable, Westacott said.

Westacott linked her call for workplace flexibility with those structural challenges, warning that restrictive industrial agreements harmed management’s ability to “manage those things”.

Westacott called for national inquiries into literacy and entrenched disadvantage, suggesting that the Productivity Commission could help “improve coordination across the level s of government” to tackle persistent social problems.

She reiterated calls for an increase in Newstart but suggested workers would have to wait until increased investment lifted productivity before receiving a pay rise.

“The only way wages can go up is through productivity, by companies getting better revenues that they can pass on,” she said.

Westacott labelled the idea that companies could give everyone a wage rise “simplistic”.

“If the productivity doesn’t improve and revenue doesn’t improve, there are only a few sources you can get that wage rise from: your customers in higher prices, your people in less workers, or your shareholders in less dividends.”

Topics
  • Business (Australia)
  • Australian politics
  • Coalition
  • Labor party
  • Liberal party
  • news
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Source: Google Australia | Netizen 24 Australia

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