Business NSW CEO Daniel Hunter congratulated the NSW productivity commissioner, Peter Achterstraat, on his recommendations across the critical areas for reform including skills, energy, infrastructure, natural resources, technology, housing and taxation.
“Business NSW was pleased to have been consulted extensively in the preparation of this document, which is reflected in a white paper that matches our priorities and concerns,” Mr Hunter said.
“Overhauling taxes on business will be vital to improving business productivity, removing unnecessary barriers to hiring and business expansion.
“Moving away from stamp duty and reforming payroll tax must be part of the government’s plans.”
In his report, Commissioner Achterstraat said productivity growth offers the people of New South Wales important benefits.
“Higher wages and output, greater business investment and employment, and a better quality of life. It makes our state a more attractive place to live, work, do business, and raise a family,” Mr Achterstraat said.
This latest report builds on the Productivity Commission’s first discussion paper, Kickstarting the Productivity Conversation, from 2019, when the community was engaged to determine how the state could address declining productivity growth.
More than 100 people and organisations made submissions to that paper, and around 100 stakeholders raised key issues.
In August 2020, the commission published draft reform recommendations in a green paper, and following that, the NSW government has adopted recommendations covering education, skills, zoning restrictions and infrastructure contributions. Many of these are already being implemented.
Business NSW’s Mr Hunter stressed the importance of the reforms necessary and the role of businesses to drive the economic recovery. He outlined some further priorities: “Housing shortages and costs are rapidly rising areas of concern for businesses around the state. No longer confined to Sydney, the inability to house workers affordably is becoming a significant constraint on business growth. The commissioner’s proposals for planning reform and increasing housing supply should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“Vocational education and training in NSW needs to build on the current system and take up the clear opportunities to make it more efficient and competitive. Following the Productivity Commission’s proposals, NSW should lead reforms of the national system.
“Business relies on our school system to provide the foundations for the future workforce. We are confident the reforms put forward by the Productivity Commission will support the best and brightest teachers in helping the next generation transition to further study, work and for life as capable, valued members of society.”
Mr Hunter said NSW’s infrastructure pipeline is at record levels, yet shortages of key skills risk delays and cost overruns. The commissioner’s attention to value for money from infrastructure investment will become more vital as work on key infrastructure progresses.
“The onus is now on politicians and government to keep the momentum going, and to ensure the recommendations are actioned,” Mr Hunter said.
The Productivity Commission white paper 2021 can be viewed here.