Role of government needs clarity: CCI

27/09/2013 - 14:42

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Western Australia’s peak industry body has called on the state government to commit to comprehensive tax and regulatory reforms to get the state’s economy back on track.

Role of government needs clarity: CCI
Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief economist John Nicolaou.

Western Australia’s peak industry body has called on the state government to commit to comprehensive tax and regulatory reforms to get the state’s economy back on track.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA today released its submission to the Economic Regulation Authority’s inquiry into microeconomic reform.

The inquiry is seeking to identify areas where the government could increase its efficiency and economic performance.

CCIWA chief economist John Nicolaou said there was a clear need for a reform agenda that would identify the future role of government.

“Now is the right time for the government to embark on a new agenda of economic reform to help get the state’s finances back on track and ensure WA is well placed to become a more competitive and productive economy,” he said.

“With the resources investment boom reaching its peak and the economy moving into a different phase of growth, reforms are needed that will help reduce business costs and promote more efficient and competitive markets.”

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s last week downgraded the state’s prized AAA credit rating to AA+, criticising the Barnett government's "limited political will" to improve its budget position.

The CCI wants transfer duties, land tax and payroll tax to be reviewed to ensure the state’s tax system assists competition and does not constrain business.

It suggests the government review its programs to identify agencies that may no longer be relevant, and calls for wide-ranging regulatory reforms in areas such as industrial relations, retail trading hours and the taxi industry.

The chamber is also keen on energy market reforms amid ongoing uncertainty over the government’s role in the electricity sector.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan flagged over the weekend that the government planned to split and then partly privatise power generator Verve and retailer Synergy within five years, only for Premier Colin Barnett to tell parliament the government had no such plans.

Interested parties will have further opportunities to make submissions following the release by the ERA of a discussion paper and draft report.

The ERA will deliver its final report on 30 June 2014.

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