"With the NSW economy continuing to gather momentum, the Government should now use tomorrow's budget to lift the State to a new level. While business conditions remain mixed and margins are generally tight amid strong competitive pressures, the Government can pave the way for further advances in the opportunities faced by the workforce, by households and by the State's businesses," Ai Group NSW Branch Head, Mark Goodsell, said today.
"With the State expected to report a very low level of debt, the Government has the opportunity to ensure that further infrastructure investments are undertaken to provide the foundation of future growth and improvements in living standards.
"Ai Group is seeking action from the NSW Budget in the following areas:
"Education and training policy is vital to ensure the State's current and future workforce has the necessary skills to help drive an innovative and competitive economy. In addressing this policy area the Government needs to lift the capacity of the VET sector so it can play a more dynamic and relevant role; commit to raising school sector literacy and numeracy; and develop initiatives that promote STEM skills in schools, the tertiary education sector and the workplace.
"Infrastructure: Adopt a fully transparent approach to infrastructure provision, where proposed infrastructure projects are subject to thorough and transparent cost-benefit analysis to ensure the best possible use of taxpayer funds. Work in partnership with the private sector in developing and implementing best practice principles in the delivery and pricing of infrastructure.
Tax: Commit to genuine taxation reform that clearly demonstrates to the business community that NSW is open for business. This includes investigating alternative ways to finance the removal of the State's most inefficient taxes, and outlining a plan to substantially improve the competitiveness of NSW's payroll tax regime.
Reduce unnecessary red tape burdens on NSW businesses by streamlining regulation, lifting regulator performance and, where appropriate, by working with other state and territory governments to bring a greater degree of certainty and consistency of standards applying to industry through genuine harmonisation of state-based laws (and single national regimes where appropriate).
Procurement Policy: Act to ensure competitive local businesses have full and fair access in the supply of the goods and services required by the public sector and for major projects undertaken within NSW. Look beyond "least cost" in government purchasing and bring to bear whole-of-life costs including maintenance and through-life support which are among the key advantages that local suppliers are able to offer," Mr Goodsell said.
Full Ai Group Pre-Budget submission
Further comment: Mark Goodsell 0418 408 871