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2012 A tough year for business

Release Date: 13/12/2012

Illawarra Business Chamber CEO, Mike Leask, said 2012 has been a tough year for the business community grappling with a volatile international economy, subdued domestic consumer confidence and an explosion of new government regulations and taxes.

“The NSW Business Chamber Business Conditions Survey has revealed, throughout 2012, that it’s been a very hard year for our entrepreneurs, with key indicators returning to near GFC levels,” Mr Leask said.

“2013 looks like it’s shaping up as another tough slog for Australian businesses, with no indication the international economy will improve dramatically or that we will see any pressure taken off the high Australian dollar.

“The only silver lining may be further reductions in interest rates, but the benefit of those cuts will depend on the major banks passing on the full savings to their business and mortgage customers.”

“As we head into a federal election in 2013, the pressure will mount for both sides of federal politics to outline their economic strategies. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the boom times are over and we will need to adapt to that reality.

“In tough economic times, more than ever, government-influenced costs of doing business impact on job creation and job security.

“As part of a united national Chamber movement, in 2013 we will be taking an active role in a Federal Election campaign, making sure those who are asking for our votes understand the importance of this sector to the Australian economy.

“In fact, the wellbeing of every town and suburb across Australia is linked to the strength of the local business community.

“In 2012, the Business Chamber movement led the charge on a number of issues that are important to the business community, with the release of thought leadership papers on the interaction of the Fair Work Act with Australia’s lagging productivity, the benefits to NSW taxpayers of introducing more contestability into the public sector economy.

“The NSW Government has had a solid year of strong reforms that will help to strengthen the NSW economy and allow business operators to focus on growing their businesses and create new jobs.

“The Premier and his Finance Minister have undertaken fundamental and necessary reform of the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme. The scheme was facing a huge deficit and would have cost 12,600 jobs had the government not acted to bring the scheme under control. The Business Chambers successfully lobbied against a 28% premium increase in favour of structural changes to the scheme.

“The Government’s commitments to reduce the regulatory burden on NSW businesses have been a welcome step forward. The creation of a business regulation taskforce – a proposal from the NSW Business Chamber – is a great initiative to get government representatives into the workplace to see how regulations cause headaches, and then to fix them.

“The pace of reform by the NSW Government needs to be increased over the next year. The Government needs to outline a stronger strategy on financing the state’s infrastructure deficit, and that will require concrete plans for the future of the state’s remaining electricity assets, especially the ‘poles and wires’, tying up so much investment capital that could be better used to accelerate new transport projects.

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