Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CEDA announces results of its 2014 business big issues survey

Yes, the following is a CEDA press release. I actually get a lot of press releases now. Because CEDA has been hammering some of the same issues that I have, I decided to run it in full for comment and later follow up. Interesting, however, that you can always tell something is a press release!

Results of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) 2014 Big Issues survey of the business community show long term policies around our future workforce, such as driving innovation, R&D and education and training, accompanied by taxation reform should be priorities.

On releasing the results CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said they strongly indicated the business community want long term policy solutions rather than blunt cuts or use of fiscal policy levers.

“Survey respondents again ranked the top four policy priorities for the Federal Government as enhancing productivity, improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and reforming taxation,” Professor Martin said.

“What is interesting is that the response to addressing these key areas has now clearly shifted to focus on innovation, skills and R&D.

“Respondents said the best way for Government to respond to below-trend growth was to incentivise innovation and R&D and invest in education to support workforce capability rather than use traditional fiscal implements and levers.

“Again in response to improving Australia’s international competitiveness, the results show incentivising innovation and R&D and enhancing workforce capability through education and training ranked much higher than policy changes such as lowering the corporate tax rate or reducing the burden of government red tape.”

More than 875 people completed this year’s annual CEDA Big Issues survey, conducted over a two week period starting in late November. The survey’s aim is to capture a snapshot of the business community’s views on the critical policy choices – the big issues – in the year ahead.

Professor Martin said the survey also showed rising support for increasing or broadening the GST compared to last year’s survey.

“This is probably a combination of concern about the Federal Government cuts and recognition that they alone will not be enough to balance the Federal Budget if we are to maintain the same level of services and infrastructure,” he said.

“Eighty per cent of respondents support increasing revenue by reforming taxation with priorities being broadening and increasing the rate of GST along with removing middle class and business welfare tax breaks.

“The Federal Government’s Tax White Paper process is critically important but it must look more broadly than the GST and look at taxation reform in a more comprehensive way so that the burden of taxation is spread appropriately.

“With respect to reforming our Federation, an issue being driven by CEDA, the survey clearly showed removing areas of duplication between the states and Federal Government should be the priority.”

Professor Martin said while assigning a portion of income tax to states specifically for key areas such as school or public transport – hypothecation – has not had much support from government, it was the highest ranked response to how imbalances in revenue allocation and collection could be fixed.

“Obviously there is wider support for this change in revenue allocation beyond government and it should be one of the options considered in the Reforming the Federation White Paper,” he said.

Professor Martin said other key results from the survey included:
  • With regard to which tier of government should be responsible for key services such as education and healthcare, most responded that they should stay the same with the exception of vocational education and hospitals, with the responsibility to be more evenly split between the State Government and Federal Government for each of these areas. 
  • More than half of respondents think Australia suffers from entrenched disadvantage and that current government policies do not sufficiently address this issue. 
  • The majority of respondents ranked early intervention, education system reform and better targeting of welfare as more important to address entrenched disadvantage compared to housing programs or restricting welfare arrangements. 
Professor Martin said the results around entrenched disadvantage again point towards the business community wanting long term solutions that deal with the root cause of issues rather than simply the symptoms. This matter will be further investigated in CEDA research, to be released in April.


Anonymous said...

2014 survey:
“Survey respondents again ranked the top four policy priorities for the Federal Government as enhancing productivity, improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and reforming taxation,” Professor Martin said.

2012 survey:
"Enhancing productivity, improving Australia's competitiveness and encouraging innovation were ranked as the top three priorities for the Federal Government," he said.

2010 survey:
dunno - because none of the links work on that survey page.

2008 survey:
According to CEDA trustees, the Top 6 Big Issues of concern for the growth of our nation are:

Education and training
Labour skills

The above comments were taken from the links provided on this page:

Also on that page there is the CEDA research topics list - where you see a count of each 'topic'.

There is just one solitary research paper listed for 'productivity' and one for 'education/skills'

It is almost as if the CEDA people fail to take any note of what their 3,000 respondents consider important. Or is it just the usual case that the production of the annual 'big issues' report is an end in itself, while the actual 'issues' are somebody else's problem?


2 tanners said...


Since I don't think I've ever addressed you directly, may I say how much I enjoy your ideas and the way you express them, even when I don't agree with them.

That caveat is largely unnecessary here. I say largely because you will find that Senator Abetz is trying to encourage innovation (target people with experience for retrenchment payouts, so new ideas can be tried) improve competitiveness (lower real wages) and increase productivity (require increased hours of work for not reducing wages further) in the APS. At least he is listening to CEDA, even if they aren't themselves. :)

Evan said...

Gawd, press releases. I wish they'd let Don Watson loose on them. "Enhance productivity" yet.

Put in a nutshell it sounds like business wants government to fund things for their benefit. I'm old enough to remember all those patronising speeches from the business lobby about 'there's no such thing as a free lunch'. Apparently the business lobby wants them for themselves.

Evan said...

I think CEDA regards these things as the government's problem kvd.

Anonymous said...

Evan, in an attempt to make you feel less put upon, I would note that many of those speeches made about 'no free lunches' are made by the guest speaker at the National Press Club :)

Hope Tassie is being good for you.

2 tanners, thank you, I think. Or not :)


Anonymous said...

Hey Jim!

You cast all this grain before us chickens, but you don't come back to check for any eggs - even if they are curate's. Now what sort of husbandry is that?

Hope all is well with you.


Jim Belshaw said...

Sorry, kvd. Just other pressures. Now back on line. Still, I like the idea of feeding the chooks. I wonder how many people still remember that line about the curate's egg. Obviously I still remember it! Came from a Punch cartoon.

Glad that you, Evan and 2Ts were able to chat in my absence.

I actually think that CEDA is better than you allow, although its arguable.