Business calls on COAG to speed up reform

By Staff Writer

The Business Council of Australia has warned that the pace of key national reform is slowing, as seen in last week’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, Katie Lahey, called on COAG to focus on its national reform agenda.

 “The trend to use COAG meetings to consider issues that could be dealt with separately, such as swine flu and an emergency warning system, was concerning,” Lahey said.

“Although these issues are important they are not part of the national reform agenda that COAG is required to deliver.

“We cannot afford to let reform progress slip if we want to recover early and strongly from the economic downturn.”

Leahy said business was looking for “concrete outcomes”, not more agreements.

High on her agenda were the issues of business deregulation in priority areas such as occupational health and safety, further reform on infrastructure policy and the creation of a new organisation responsible for developing, administrating and reviewing energy efficiency programs in Australia.

Leahy also called for COAG to accelerate reform of the energy market in the lead up to the implementation of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

“COAG can put Australia on a stronger path to recovery and future productivity, or it can condemn us to underperformance for years to come. Business supports COAG to achieve its objectives, but it must focus on outcomes rather than more agreements to deliver outcomes,” she said.

Related Story: COAG includes local government in major reform

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