Time for government action: CCIWA

23/09/2009 - 09:24


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The Barnett government has performed strongly in regulatory reform in its first year in office but must now deliver on its reform promises, a Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA scorecard has concluded.

Time for government action: CCIWA

The Barnett government has performed strongly in regulatory reform in its first year in office but must now deliver on its reform promises, a Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA scorecard has concluded.



The announcement is below:


To mark the first anniversary of the current State Government coming to office, the State's peak organisation representing local business, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, has assessed the Government's performance to date on the issues that matter most to local business.

During last year's State Election, CCI issued a challenge to the next Government to address the key policy issues that matter to WA businesses. CCI's Strategies for Growth mapped out policy priorities for the next State Government. A year on, CCI has rated the Government's performance on 11 key policy issues.

Overall, CCI believes the Government has taken a number of important first steps to address some of the challenges facing the State and the local business community. Attention must now turn to delivering the reforms that are needed to make it easier to do business in WA.

For example, local businesses are encouraged that the Government is prepared to tackle excessive regulation and red tape, embark on much needed reform of the public sector, extend weeknight trading hours, streamline the planning and approvals system, and reform local government.

In doing so, the Government has raised expectations that results will be seen on these and other important issues. Over the next 12 months, as the Government approaches mid term, the business community is keen to see the results that have been promised.

In preparing the scorecard, CCI surveyed businesses from across the State seeking their views about the Government's performance on a range of business issues. It appears that a majority of respondents are reserving their judgment on the Government's performance.

CCI has incorporated detailed feedback from its members to compile the following assessment of the Government's performance.

- Addressing Labour Shortages - While there have been some improvements, such as training assistance for unemployed workers, business wants the Government to develop an overall human capital strategy to meet the State's growing demand for labour. Score: 6

- Energy - The creation of the Gas Supply and Emergency Management Committee, improving the cost-reflectivity of electricity prices, and announcing the development of a State Energy Initiative are positive measures. CCI also welcomes the recent decision to continue the electricity reform process, including keeping Verve and Synergy separate. Score: 7

- Tax Competitiveness - Despite the impact on government revenue of the economic downturn, some important first steps have been made, including the use of a more appropriate measure to assess tax competitiveness, temporary payroll tax relief for small businesses, and capping individual assessments for land tax. Payroll tax relief should be permanent. Score: 7

- Public Sector Reform - The implementation of a three per cent efficiency dividend is welcome, although further action is necessary to reign in unsustainable growth in public sector spending. The Economic Audit will report soon on ways to improve government efficiency. Government should implement its recommendations. Score: 6.5

- Infrastructure Development - The WA Government should release the State Infrastructure Strategy, and put in place an open and transparent process for assessing and prioritising infrastructure projects. CCI is pleased at the commitment to several important infrastructure projects, such as the Northbridge Link and the Oakajee Port. Score: 6

- Retail Trading Hours - plans to extend weeknight trading hours in metropolitan Perth to 9pm are long overdue, but still fall short of what is required to bring the system up to date. The refusal by the Labor and National parties to support the legislation is misguided. Score: 5

- Regulatory Reform - The Government has shown a willingness to remove unnecessary regulation on business by forming the Red Tape Reduction Group, and reviewing planning and approvals processes. Business has waited a long time and there is no need for delay. Score: 7.5

- Education and Training - The WA Government has recognised the need to improve the quality of WA's education and training system. Business will watch closely the trial to provide school autonomy and the greater focus on workforce development. We need to rethink how our schools are run, and how we train the workforce of tomorrow. Score: 6.5

- Health and Community Services - The Government ought to implement further reforms across the health and community services sector, including a shift in focus of health care to primary and preventative care. Much of the health reform process is being driven by the COAG health agenda. This has yet to bring about change to the local health system. Score: 5

- Climate Change - Business would like to see government take an even stronger position in promoting the interests of WA industry which is particularly exposed to the risks of a poorly designed emissions trading scheme. Score: 6

- Industrial Relations - WA business would prefer to see the creation of a single national industrial relations system. Nevertheless, CCI welcomes the WA Government's review into the State Industrial Relations System, which will aim to create a system better geared to meet the needs of modern business. Score: 6

With the State gearing up for the next wave of economic growth and prosperity, the need for Government action on these policy issues has never been greater.


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