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Call to reassert NSW as an economic force in Australia

28 February, 2007

"The March NSW election provides an opportunity to forge a new compact between business and Government to lift economic growth in the State from current disappointing levels," says Mark Goodsell, the AI Group NSW Director.

"Ai Group calls for this compact to create a partnership with a firm resolve to reassert NSW as an economic force in Australia."

"While nationally Australia is enjoying the benefits of the minerals boom, NSW is lagging. The State is undergoing significant structural shifts as the high dollar and emerging economies such as China exert pressure on our export and domestic markets. On top of these forces, the economy is still suffering from the correction in the housing market and demographic changes.

"For the NSW Government that will take office after the election on 24 March, the challenge is to work with business to create the environment to develop industries and skills to support the knowledge-based economy that will underwrite our success in the global economy of the 21st century," Mark Goodsell said.

"Business in turn has a shared understanding and commitment to these goals.  It will take action from both sides to succeed in this compact. The partnership should be based on a mature and modern view of how business and a State Government should interact in a globalised and rapidly changing economy. This should include:

- Committing to make NSW a genuinely competitive place to do business; 
- Playing a positive role in the renewal of the State's physical infrastructure:
- Partnering with business to develop business capabilities, innovation and workforce skills; and
- Taking a positive role in improving Australia's intergovernmental relations.

"To achieve these objectives, Ai Group has presented a paper to the Government, opposition parties and independents, urging that the next NSW Government commit to the following:

- Maintain sound fiscal management;
- Reduce the complexity and costs of the State's OH&S arrangements; 
- Elevate NSW to the position of a national leader in reducing the regulatory burden on business;
- Make the NSW taxation system more competitive;
- Be active in attracting business to NSW and in improving opportunities for local businesses;
- Improve the planning processes and level of investment in the State's infrastructure; 
- Make NSW a leading innovator in building and upgrading the skills of the existing and emerging workforce; 
- Facilitate the development of business capabilities and innovation in the State's businesses, including through additional funds to extend and expand the role of the Industry Capability Network; and:  
- Put NSW at the forefront of efforts to improve cooperation between the Federal, State and Local Governments. 

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