BCA calls on longer vision

The Business Council of Australia will on Wednesday call for leaders to focus on achieving their long-term vision for the country, rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by short-term complacency.

The Business Council of Australia will on Wednesday call for leaders to focus on achieving their long-term vision for the country, rather than allowing themselves to be distracted by short-term complacency.

In a speech to be given on Wednesday, the council will label planning for the decades to come as "somewhere between half-hearted and non-existent".

"In many countries, creating jobs, raising living standards and securing long-term prosperity is a challenge. In Australia it's a choice," council president Tony Shepherd will tell the National Press Club.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Shepherd will call for Australia to become a top-five country for income per capita and in the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index. He will also call for more than 90 per cent of young people to complete year 12 or equivalent, and for all Australians to have access to a quality health system.

Australia should tackle entrenched disadvantage and close opportunity gaps between the indigenous and non-indigenous, Mr Shepherd will say.

The council's members are the chief executives of Australia's largest companies, including Mike Smith of ANZ Banking Group, Origin Energy's Grant King and Telstra chief executive David Thodey.

The speech will coincide with a launch of full-page ads by the council, urging leaders to focus on Australia's prosperity in the long term "not just the next six months".

The federal election will be on September 14, four months after a budget in which a $10 billion deficit is expected. It comes before the release of a business council report identifying nine areas for reform, including tax and regulation, infrastructure, energy, education and foreign investment.

The comments follow heated political debate on the taxation of superannuation, which resulted in mild changes for high-income earners, and a controversial government crackdown on foreign workers on 457 visas.

It was reported last week that Mr Shepherd, a member of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Forum, told business chief executives: "I believe the upcoming budget will see more ad hoc, poorly thought-through attacks on business that are going to destroy investment, confidence and jobs."

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