16/10/2007 - 22:00

Caution the common sentiment with regard to political change

16/10/2007 - 22:00

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Several Perth entrepreneurs are nervous about the impact a change of federal government next month could have on the Australian economy in three to five years’ time.

Caution the common sentiment with regard to political change

Several Perth entrepreneurs are nervous about the impact a change of federal government next month could have on the Australian economy in three to five years’ time.

Co-founder of mining engineering and contract firm Australian Mine Services, Julie Smith-Massara, has already moved to secure five-year Australian Workplace Agreements with her employees, agreements a Labor government will allow to continue operating until they expire.

“I’m not so worried about the results of this election,” Ms Smith-Massara said.

“In our industry AWAs are the most popular industrial relation instrument and most of us who saw this coming have taken the time to lock in our AWAs for five years. It is more the next election I am worried about.”

AHS Hospitality managing director Stephen Lauder said he was concerned about the effect a Labor government would have on the economy.

He said he was not worried about the immediate impact but the effect of changes in policy in “year three, year five and year six”.

“What will happen to this economy? I am very worried about a change of government,” Mr Lauder said.

“What I think we need to be looking at is what we need to occur in Australia. We need the good times to continue. We need good strong, economic management, we need strong leadership and we need to maintain interest rates at a global, acceptable level. That means that if we have had five interest rate rises in the past three years that is not necessarily a bad thing.”

TSG Key Group chief executive officer Dave Simmons said there were a lot of people who had taken on a lot of debt and any pressure on interest rates would “create an issue”.

He said whichever party won office needed to invest in infrastructure in WA.

“They need to look at what they are going to do to improve it,” Mr Simmons said. “I came through the airport the other day and it is a painful exercise.”

iiNet managing director Michael Malone said both political parties had put forward policies proposing about $8 billion investment in telecommunications infrastructure.

“Who is going to pay for this investment? Neither one is suggesting that they are going to pay for it. They are saying it will come from the private sector. That means that everyone in this room will be paying $20 to $30 more a month for their internet access,” he said.

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