Federal Election presents unprecedented crossroads for business

Monday 21 March, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: Federal Election, double dissolution, Senate impasse

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ)) has welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that we will go to the polls on July 2, unless the Australian Building and Construction Commission Bill is passed by the Senate.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said Queensland small businesses would be heartened to hear that an indicative election date had been set, ending on-going speculation.

“In order for the economy to flourish, businesses need certainty and we hope a Federal Election will provide Queensland with a Federal Government with a clear mandate to act,” he said.

“It is crucial that the political instability resulting from the Senate impasse and the ongoing political game-playing ceases.”

Mr Behrens said small business was concerned that the Senate continued to block over $5 billion worth of savings in expenditure.

“Any future Senate needs to avoid holding the government to ransom with a populist negative campaign,” he said.   

“The Senate has struck fear into the business community and the general lack of collaboration between the Federal Government and Independent Senators has unquestionably undermined business confidence and in turn investment.

“Regardless of who forms the next Federal Government, businesses will be looking for more certainty and political stability to create an environment conducive to business investment and confidence.

“Businesses are looking for both sides to outline a clear economic strategy to lower Australia’s business operating cost base.”

Mr Behrens said small businesses wanted to see three clear outcomes from the government.

“These are more a competitive national tax system; implementation of fairer workplace relations arrangements; and increased investment in infrastructure that meets our future economic requirements.

“Obviously the Federal Budget, now being delivered on May 3, will provide clarity on what the Coalition Government is envisioning for tax change in Australia. It is shame that national tax reform now only appears to be a shadow of what the potential possibilities were to drive the economy forward.”

Mr Behrens said CCIQ was sceptical on the genuine intent to reform the Australian Building and Construction Commission and saw this as merely a trigger for a double dissolution of Parliament.

“However, in any case the ABCC is the key to improving productivity in the Queensland construction industry. Since the ABCC was removed by the former Federal Government, the industry has been plagued by unlawful industrial conduct.

“This has included work stoppages, unlawful entry, misuse of WH&S provisions and the prescribed use of sub-contractors in industrial agreements.

“The absence of an industrial umpire has meant the unions have had almost free-reign to stop work on a particular site, costing businesses and sub-contractors a significant amount of money.”


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