ACT Businesses eager for more details of economic policy

The Canberra Business Chamber has welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement today of a four-year economic plan, and says businesses will be looking for more details of plans to generate employment.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced a target of 20,000 more jobs, along with tax reform initiatives and more details of the capital works program this afternoon.

The Chief Minister also provided more information on the fiscal outlook for the territory, confirming an increase in the current year budget deficit ($255.5 to $690.5 million) and forecasting a $909 million deficit for the ACT in 2020 -2021.”

“It is clear that the private sector will need to lead the growth of jobs and the ACT economy”, Chamber CEO Graham Catt said.

“We’re pleased that the ACT Government has responded to the call from business groups for an economic plan, and that we are actively discussing jobs and the economy in the lead up to this election. Businesses will be eagerly awaiting more information about how these targets will be achieved.”

The Chamber has called for a comprehensive ACT skills and workforce strategy, setting clear targets for demand through growth in key industry sectors and strategies for developing skills locally or incentivising skilled workers to move to Canberra.

The Chamber also said that members will be looking for more tax reform.

“We’re yet to see analysis of the impact that tax reform has had on business” Mr Catt said. “Our members believe there is more work to do, particularly on commercial rates which are leading to higher rents, reduced property values and the risk of investment and jobs moving interstate. There is more room for reforms that help business, create jobs, and still provide a sustainable revenue base for the Territory in the long term.”

The Canberra Business Chamber will release its election policies next week.

“This year’s election is the opportunity for every party and each candidate to demonstrate their commitment to supporting local businesses, creating local jobs and growing the ACT economy” said Mr Catt.