21/08/2014 - 13:19

WA economy could double in 20 years: CCI

21/08/2014 - 13:19
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If key areas of reform were implemented in Western Australia then the state’s economy could double in size in the next 20 years, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s latest report.

CCI chief executive officer Deidre Willmott.

If key areas of reform were implemented in Western Australia then the state’s economy could double in size in the next 20 years, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA’s latest report.

Along with an economy worth $570 billion, CCI said WA could add 740,000 people to its workforce, raising the total to 2.3 million.

CCI also anticipated a six-fold increase in research and development spending by businesses to $24 billion.

Introducing its latest strategy mission, to create a long-term vision for WA, and an associated State of the Future document, CCI chief executive officer Deidre Willmott said productivity and innovation was lagging in WA, and excessive growth in government spending had brought significant challenges to the state.

A plan to reduce the overall tax burden by $653 million has been sought by CCI through the broadening of the tax base to abolish stamp duty and payroll tax, which the business body described as ‘inefficient taxes’.

“In terms of economic reform, CCI would like to see changes to the industrial relations system to support a responsive labour market, the unlocking of innovation through greater collaboration between industry and tertiary institutions and further reductions in red tape,” CCI said in a statement.

CCI also said the state would benefit from an independent infrastructure advisory body to oversee projects being planned and developed in WA.

Meanwhile, the report placed a focus on more involvement from the private sector in delivering services.

“Business would like the WA government to identify options for increased private sector involvement in infrastructure funding through greater use of public private partnerships, contracting-out arrangements and privatisation,” Ms Willmott said.

A higher employment to population ratio and an additional 500,000 people holding a tertiary qualification was also in CCI’s 20-year vision. 

To meet these targets, CCI suggests targeting a range of policy levers including tax competitiveness, industrial relations reform and regulatory changes.

WA is the sixth most tax-competitive state on a per-capita basis, with the tax burden needing to fall by around $650 million for WA to become more competitive, CCI said.

In industrial relations, the chamber said, the state government should surrender its powers to the Commonwealth, but reform is needed to unfair dismissal laws and to minimise the effect of industrial action.

The CCI also called on the federal government to follow the Commission of Audit’s blueprint to improve the structural budget position, and for the abolition of the future fund to pay down existing government debt.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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