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Fed opposition to strengthen its partnership with business

04 April, 2007

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has clearly indicated his intention to strengthen Labor's relationship with the business community if he wins office at this year's Federal Election

Addressing Ai Group's National Executive meeting in Canberra in late February, Mr Rudd said Labor and the business community needed to find common ground from which to tackle the major reform challenges facing Australia.

"Business is the engine room of the economy and the driver of long-term prosperity. I understand that we need to build a long-term partnership - a partnership for national prosperity," Rudd said.

"Of course, we won't always agree on all areas of policy, but it is important that we have a fruitful and constructive dialogue on these important issues. My door is always open to new ideas and new policy proposals."

Rudd identified productivity, education and skills, workplace relations, infrastructure, innovation, climate change, trade, and business taxation and regulation as the main areas needing reform.

"It is a big agenda, but it is an agenda that Australia needs to tackle if we are to maintain our long-term prosperity," he said.

"We need to build a strong, diverse, competitive economy that can continue growing beyond the mining boom. That is why Labor welcomes a partnership with the business community and particularly Ai Group and its members."

Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said while there were clear areas of difference between Labor and Ai Group policy, particularly in the area of workplace relations, Labor's was prepared to listen and consider Ai Group views.

"It is clear that Labor is receptive to many of the policies Ai Group advocates on behalf of our members," Mrs Ridout said after the meeting.

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