Big Issues 2015



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Addressing tax evasion, the critical importance of innovation, education and skills, and opportunities for services industries have been highlighted in CEDA’s 2015 Big Issues survey as key drivers in improving the Australian economy.

On releasing the survey results, CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said they show that the business community wants fair reform of the taxation system and genuine efforts to repair Australia’s chronic underlying Federal Budget problem.

“Perhaps surprisingly, given the current preoccupation with a limited debate around the GST, addressing tax evasion ranked as the number one aim for reforming the tax system. Clearly there is growing concern in the business community about company tax evasion that has been highlighted extensively this year in the media,” he said. 

Professor Martin said another key result from the survey was that incentivising innovation has become a top priority in three significant areas.

“It ranked as the top policy priority for the Federal Government in 2016, for improving Australia’s international competitiveness and for how the Federal Government should respond to an expected low-growth environment,” he said.

Other key results were:

  • To improve Australia’s workforce capabilities the top ranked response was a consistent strategy for education, that promotes the appropriate skills for driving Australia’s economic sustainability.
  • Lack of long-term planning and commitment by government was again ranked number one as the biggest factor hindering adequate provision of transport infrastructure.
  • The key sectors predicted to provide future growth for our economy were education services, healthcare and agriculture.
  • The survey again showed support for broadening or increasing the GST along with tackling middle class and business welfare tax breaks as the top areas of focus for taxation reform.

Read media release: CEDA Big Issues: Tackling tax avoidance and incentivising innovation priorities for Federal Government

Survey results:

Below is a selection of survey comments

We should provide strong and supportive programs for small business and across educational institutions to enable the innovation to blossom.  The future is in creative industries and innovations in alternate energy sources, alternate crops etc. not the traditional areas of mining and manufacturing. 

We need to ask ourselves some tough questions about where the future jobs for our children are going to come from and in turn put in place long-term educational programs and systems that are going to support these types of future industries.  

Addressing multinational corporate tax evasion should come before any increase in the GST.  An increase in the GST will have broad impacts across retail and spending and while politicians will promise other taxes will be wound back there will be tax creep again.  Using NZ to support increasing the GST in Australia is a weak argument - their economy suffered for many years with an increased GST and the turn-around was not a result of the GST increase.  We need to ensure the lower and middle class in Australia is not worse off with any tax reform otherwise we risk becoming like the United States and will have a higher non-participation rate in the workforce.

Simplification of the taxation system should be a high priority to save unproductive administrative effort so that effort can be directed to productive work.  The taxation system and measures to improve economic growth should be designed to incentivise productive effort not penalise it.

The main target must be to set a clear achievable agenda for how Australia is going to be competitive in value adding in an area of demand and move away from reliance on the primary sector. Australia must start focusing on value adding in some manufacturing or product sense to enable a wide as possible utilisation of resources and skills.

Click here to read more survey comments.

Other recent CEDA research