REPORT CARD: Australia 'must try harder' on productivity

Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images
  • The AICD says Australia hasn’t made that much progress in improving productivity and prosperity for all.
  • The company directors have released a report card showing weak results across governance, infrastructure, innovation, finance and not for profits.
  • Australia mostly scores a week C. The highest was a B+ for innovation.

Australia’s company directors have given Australia, and its political masters in Canberra, a “must try harder” report card on national productivity.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) says a year of constitutional turmoil and political wrangling has seen Australia slip further from achieving reforms.

In a report card on performance, the AICD gives a C- for National Governance, a C for Fiscal Sustainability, a B+ for Innovation, a C for Human Capital, a C for the not for profit sector, and a C+ for National Infrastructure.

In 2017 the Australian Institute of Company Directors released a blueprint for the future, including recommendations across six key policy areas to help improve economic and social outcomes for all Australians.

Today the AICD released a report card marking progress toward these reforms.

Angus Armour, the AICD’s Managing Director and CEO, says progress could be summed up, at best, as “must do better”.

Among the recommendations to boost productivity and prosperity are constitutional reform, comprehensive tax reform, a fit-for-purpose regulatory regime to encourage innovation, and a de-regulation agenda to support the vital not for profit sector.

“Unfortunately, progress has been slow or non-existent,” says Armour.

“Despite a year which saw unprecedented focus on the need to modernise our constitution and national governance, momentum for change seems to have been lost.

“Focusing on the long-term is a key element of good governance. The reality is however we need commitment and action now if we’re going to set Australia up for a prosperous future.”

Stephen Walters, AICD’s Chief Economist, says the greatest focus for the political class and others ahead of the next election needed to be on securing Australia’s fiscal future.

“The Government should be commended for making progress towards budget repair. However, Australia’s fiscal position remains unsustainable,” he says.

“It’s time to stop tinkering around the edges and deliver a real plan for our financial future. We need to have a discussion that is much broader than imputation credits or company tax alone.”

The AICD report card:

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