Monday, August 5, 2013

Economy must be election focus: business

Business groups have welcomed the calling of the September 7 election, saying the economy should be the major focus of the campaign.

Chief of the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Peter Anderson, said business would be relieved the election has been called with a short campaign.

He wants politicians to "elevate" economic management and productivity as central campaign themes.

"So that private sector jobs and well-being, including the future of the nation's two million small businesses that employ seven million people, is not marginalised or ignored," Mr Anderson said.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants said the major parties needed to lay out a "roadmap" for addressing the economic challenges faced by Australia.

"Governments don't need to come up with a media announcement every 24 hours - that's not what a long-term plan for Australia's prosperity is all about," institute chief Lee White said in a statement.

"What business is interested in seeing is a more robust and transparent consultation on the big issues that matter for our future."

Australian Industry Group boss Innes Willox said the major parties would be judged on how they addressed issues such as the slowing mining boom, productivity, and how to return the budget to a "more sustainable footing".

"Business will be looking to the major parties to offer policies and strategies focused on creating a vibrant and sustainable economy for the decades to come," Mr Willox said in a statement.

Mr Rudd announced the September 7 ballot date yesterday after meeting with the Governor-General in Canberra.
Executives welcome ballot date

Executives have also welcomed Mr Rudd's setting of the election date, saying it provided much needed confidence for the economy.

Harry Boon, chairman of Tatts Group and a director of Toll Holdings told The Australian he was paid to make forward-looking decisions and the "sooner we can resolve things one way or another, the better it will be for decision-making."

Meanwhile, Premier Retail chief executive Mark McInnes said the calling of the election was "great" news for business.

"There's been speculation about the date for far too long, which has caused people to retreat into their shells,"  Mr McInnes told The Australian.

"It's been a disaster for the economy, so (it's) a welcome development to get the election out of the way and allows the country some certainty about its future government."

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