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 itâs âbitterly disappointingâ the Coalitionâs plan to cut big business taxes to 25% did not succeed
Failing to pass big business tax cuts was a âcolossal mistakeâ 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 âsomething meaningful on investment or depreciation allowancesâ 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 âbitterly disappointingâ that the Coalitionâs 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.Labor plans crackdown on deductions for travel to tax havens Read more
âI think it is a terrible mistake, a colossal mistake that the parliament has made and we will see in 10 yearsâ time how well the Aust ralian economy fares as country after country lowers their rate and draws in more investment,â she said.
Westacott suggested if the parliament was âincapable of lowering the company tax rate for all companiesâ then the government should do âsomething meaningful on investment or depreciation allowancesâ.
Westacott noted that Labor was proposing an increased investment allowance â" to double tax deductions on investment â" parts of which she said were âvery goodâ, but allowable deductions needed to be âbroaderâ.
âWe also have to tackle badly designed regulation and remove the barriers to starting new businesses and employing more people.â
Westacott noted the Australian Council of Trade Unionsâ demands for industry-level bargaining. She argued that standard conditions across all companies would be âunworkableâ 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 âunworkableâ, 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 âthe more youâve got to negotiate as part of a complicated process, the more you will slow things downâ.
Westacott acknowledged the industrial relations system needed to protect âbasic rights and conditions such as the minimum wage, leave and entitlements and a fair and transparent process for dismissalâ.Reserve Bank warns of looming global threats to Australian economy Read more
Research by the consultancy AlphaBeta showed that job losses from automation were âno higher today than in previous peaks over the past 50 yearsâ, 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 âundervaluedâ jobs were the most vulnerable, Westacott said.
Westacott linked her call for workplace flexibility with those structural challenges, warning that restrictive industrial agreements harmed managementâs ability to âmanage those thingsâ.
Westacott called for national inquiries into literacy and entrenched disadvantage, suggesting that the Productivity Commission could help âimprove coordination across the level s of governmentâ 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.
âThe only way wages can go up is through productivity, by companies getting better revenues that they can pass on,â she said.
Westacott labelled the idea that companies could give everyone a wage rise âsimplisticâ.
âIf the productivity doesnât improve and revenue doesnât 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.âTopics
- Business (Australia)
- Australian politics
- Labor party
- Liberal party
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