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Peak business group calls for action to fix govt and help workers

03 September, 2008

Swift and bipartisan action is needed to streamline government, minimise waste and mismanagement and help hard working Australian businesses get on with the job, according to NSW’s leading business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.

The Fixing the Federation Symposium, hosted by the NSW Business Chamber on 8 July 2008, brought together employers, unions, the community sector and government to shine a light on issues surrounding the way our nation is governed.

“Consumers and business are getting sick and tired of the excuses. They want action. They want results and they want it now”, Kevin MacDonald CEO, NSW Business Chamber said.

“An efficient and effective Federation is essential to good government. We all know that excessive regulation and red tape is a burden that adds to the cost and complexity of running a business. And experts tell us that Australia’s Federation contains an especially confused mix of funding powers and public service responsibilities,” MacDonald said.

Duplication and waste are rife across government. Dysfunction costs an estimated $9 billion a year – more than the entire Budgets of the Tasmanian and Northern Territory Governments.

“The Fixing the Federation Symposium was a great success, providing an invigorating opportunity for policymakers, business, unions, politicians and community groups to exchange ideas,” he said.

“The Symposium dealt with issues that were raised in our last major survey of member businesses. While there is concern about the fundamentals of business life, such as the availability of finance, inflation and unemployment, these were less of a concern to member businesses surveyed than their frustration over red tape and compliance”, MacDonald said.

The Fixing the Federation Symposium, discussed three key areas in need of reform:

- taxation and the financing of public services;
- the skilling of our workforce;
- and workplace relations, workers compensation and occupational health and safety (OHS) systems.

“While national systems of governance will not be suitable in every area, as a nation we need to pursue and embrace a more uniform regulatory framework,” MacDonald said.

The NSW Business Chamber is monitoring policymakers’ progress in this area and is seeking ways to hasten the pace of reform.

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