Monday, 18 June 2007
Statements by Members
I rise to comment upon a media release that has been put out today by the ACCI. It talks about economic management being the most important issue for small and medium sized businesses across Australia, which I do not refute for one moment, but it is interesting to compare some of the figures. In 2004 the business communities that were surveyed suggested that it was the most important issue for 26 per cent of those that responded, compared to 27 per cent now, which is a negligible increase in the concern that is shared amongst the business community—but I think it is still important to note, and the ACCI have noted it. What is interesting, however, is what they failed to note with respect to the survey. In fact, the lack of skills development in the country has almost tripled in the concerns shared amongst businesses from 5.9 per cent to 15.3 per cent, and infrastructure needs have doubled from 6.6 per cent to almost 13 per cent. Clearly, the businesses of Australia are saying that, notwithstanding whatever concerns they have with respect to economic management, they are very concerned about the failure of the government to confront the challenges of infrastructure.
I have just heard the member for Boothby talk about broadbanding. You should be calling it the broad bandwagon because the government is now just on the bandwagon—(Time expired)
Impressive economic figures from last week show that our growth is up, employment is up, labour market strength is up and the labour price index is at a very disciplined 4.1 per cent. Glenn Stevens from the RBA said that labour market supply flexibility is the most responsible factor for making such favourable outcomes possible. We know that Labor blames China for our economic boom at the moment. The reality is, of course, that it is the supply side—labour market flexibility—that is making all the difference, and we have seen employment growth over the last two years. I challenge Labor to drop their foolish union fed and funded objection to labour market flexibility and to allow us to move away from their alternative, which is a 19th century industrial relations platform. They need to leave it behind, quit the lies and drop their resistance to that key part of the Australian economy that is moving us forward. We can ill afford the obstruction by Labor and the refusal to have an up-to-date, internationally competitive labour market.