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Australia remains outside world top 20 competitive countries: WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2017-18

Australia has again ranked outside the world’s 20 most competitive countries according to the 2017-18 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global competitiveness report released today.

Australia moved up one place from last year and has been stuck outside the top 20 since 2013-14.

The Australian Industry Group partnered with the WEF in collecting the business data in Australia.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said: "A big detractor of competitiveness this year was a sharp rise in concerns over policy and political instability. Also detracting from Australia’s performance was a worsening ranking of the adequacy of infrastructure with particular note being made of communications and energy infrastructure. These areas combined with the more entrenched areas of restrictive labour regulations, high tax rates and a relatively poor ranking of innovation as the major inhibitors of our competitiveness.

"There are a number of positives in this year’s WEF Competitiveness Report: Australia continues to rank in the top 10 of global economies for our financial markets (6th best) and higher education & training (9th best). But while we should celebrate our strengths, the WEF rankings illustrate that our competitiveness performance is well short of our aspirations. Australians in general are not comfortable sitting this far off the leaders' board.

"There are areas that we can and should act on to lift our game. Ending the policy uncertainty in the energy area is clearly a sensible place to start. We need also to put more effort into building a strong base of support for measures that would assist in lifting our competitiveness. This includes in the areas of workplace relations and taxation," Mr Willox said.

Key Points:

  • Australia's score and ranking for infrastructure and especially electricity and communications infrastructure deteriorated in 2017-18.
  • Australia's scores and rankings for several other key factors (including in the labour market and in supply chains) improved marginally.
  • The most problematic factors for doing business in Australia in 2017-18 are still 'restrictive labour regulations' and 'tax rates'.
  • Concerns about the effects on business competitiveness arising from inadequate supply of infrastructure, policy instability and government instability became more pronounced in 2017-18 than they were one and two years ago.

Australia's most problematic factors for doing business

* From this list of factors, respondents were asked to select the five most problematic factors for doing business in their country and to rank them between 1 (most problematic) and 5 (least problematic). The score corresponds to the responses weighted according to their rankings.  

Read the Australian WEF findings

Download the full WEF Global Competitiveness Report

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347