Policies for the long-term to get Australia on track

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Governments must pursue policies for the long-term that put the nation’s interests ahead of partisan politics by addressing deficiencies in our political system, fiscal policy and key areas such as infrastructure planning.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has today released a new report Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth which details reform priorities which could be implemented over the next two years to generate better economic and social outcomes for all Australians.

“The AICD has a diverse membership of almost 38,000 which is collectively responsible for billions of dollars in investment across the economy. We have previously pursued a narrow policy agenda but now recognise that we have an important role in broader debate about issues related to the governance of the nation,” said Elizabeth Proust, the AICD’s Chairman.

“The likely election in July will present an opportunity for all sides of politics to take a long term view of the reforms required to deliver Australia’s future prosperity. Our Blueprint maps out the potential first steps in a process of change that is urgently required and it should be considered by the next government,” said John Brogden, the AICD’s Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.

“Public policy in Australia has become tainted by short-term thinking that prevents bold reform. We urge both State and Federal governments to resist the temptation to buckle to day-to-day party politics and to instead focus on real change that can provide us with a better future.”

The AICD report identifies potential reforms in six areas:

National governance

  • Fixed four-year terms for the Federal government, introduced via a referendum in 2017.
  • A reinvigorated COAG with a clear 15-year reform agenda.

Fiscal sustainability

  • Fiscal restraint and reform to reduce overall government spending to below GFC levels, as a percentage of GDP, over the medium term.
  • Changes to superannuation and capital gains tax, a lift in the GST, cuts to personal and company tax rates and state tax reform.

Innovation and entrepreneurialism

  • Bipartisan national plan to take Australia from “lag” to “lead” on global innovation indicators.
  • Fast-tracked national insolvency reform and the introduction of a safe harbour to combat risk aversion.
  • Expand the national focus on talent and skills, with a focus on STEM, to support workforce skills.

Partnerships with not-for-profit organisations

  • Greater financial certainty for NFPs via five-year funding cycles.
  • Increased focus on governance in funding agreements.

Human capital

  • A national strategy to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation by 25 per cent by 2025.
  • Simplification of the national award system, improved governance of the Fair Work Commission and reform of penalty rates.

National infrastructure

  • COAG commitment to a 15-year national infrastructure plan.
  • Nationally consistent benchmarks for project governance, reporting and cost/benefit analysis.
  • Continued prioritisation of asset recycling through privatisation of public assets to fund new infrastructure investment.

“Our Blueprint draws on the results of our bi-annual Director Sentiment Index and detailed consultation that we have undertaken with our members. It reflects the views of directors from not-for-profit organisations, private business, government boards and listed companies,” Mr Brogden said.

Click below to read Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth:

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