BCA to deliver stern message on nation's future

The Business Council of Australia will call on Wednesday for leaders to focus on achieving their long-term vision for the country, instead of being distracted by short-term complacency.

The Business Council of Australia will call on Wednesday for leaders to focus on achieving their long-term vision for the country, instead of being distracted by short-term complacency.

In a speech, the council will label planning for the decades ahead 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," BCA president Tony Shepherd will tell the National Press Club.

He will also call for Australia to become a top-five country for income per capita and in the World Economic Forum's global competitiveness index.

He also wants 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.

Moreover, the country ought to tackle entrenched disadvantage and close the opportunity gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

BCA members are chief executives of the largest companies, including Mike Smith of ANZ, Origin Energy's Grant King and Telstra chief David Thodey.

The speech will coincide with the launch of full-page ads by the council, seeking to inspire leaders to "focus on long-term prosperity of all Australians - not just the next six months".

The business council will also shortly release a report that identifies nine areas for reform, including tax and regulation, infrastructure, energy, education and foreign investment.

The comments follow heated political debate on the superannuation tax that that mildly affected 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 Minster's Business Advisory Forum, told a gathering of 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. More robbing Peter to pay Paul and more promises of things that can't be delivered."

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