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Business groups expecting action from Baillieu

Tuesday, 30 November 2010 | By Michelle Hammond

Ted Baillieu is wasting no time as Victoria’s newly-appointed Premier, with plans to recall State Parliament before Christmas and challenge the Federal Government’s reform agenda.

 

 

After defeating former Premier John Brumby, Baillieu’s newly-formed Coalition Government is already considering convening a special Parliament sitting to outline his reform program.

 

Although he is yet to formally outline his priorities for government, Baillieu said he needed more information before he would support various Federal Government reforms including the National Broadband Network.

 

“Before taxpayers fund an NBN, basic services such as mobile phone reception in many regional and metropolitan areas of Victoria should be addressed and improved wherever possible,” he said.

 

Baillieu said he would also push for additional Commonwealth funding for major infrastructure projects, a move welcomed by the industry.

 

Industry groups have reacted positively to the change of government, but have called for action with regard to multiple issues plaguing businesses including infrastructure and stamp duty.

 

Tim Piper, Australian Industry Group Victorian director, says the AIG looks forward to working with the Baillieu Government on behalf of Victorian business as it develops policies to promote business interests and initiatives in the state.

 

“We will work with the new government on delivering policies to help ensure that Victoria plays a leading role in the national economy and which best serve Victorian industry to create further opportunities for business growth,” Piper says.

 

“We have offered a number of policy views that will assist to deliver a boost in productivity and drive economic growth, improve job opportunities, develop the health and education systems and assist with environment policy.”

 

The AIG says it will be looking for action from the government in the following areas:

  • Reforming the state tax system.
  • Cutting regulatory red tape.
  • Building first-class infrastructure.
  • Increasing funding for education and skills training.
  • Providing support for research and development programs.
  • Developing environmental policies that are conducive to sustainable and robust economic growth.

Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the Coalition must honour its commitment to stamp duty cuts.

 

VECCI spokesperson Chris James says the government should also continue to cut the payroll tax rate to encourage employment.

 

He says the government should also reassess Labor’s commitment to a freight infrastructure charge – a $180 charge on trucks entering the Port of Melbourne.

 

“We believe it acts like an export tax. It doubles the cost of exporting containers out of the port and makes Melbourne less competitive compared to other ports,” James says.

 

According to the VECCI, the Coalition should also consider the development of inland ports.

 

“We have called for a review of the extended clearway times in metropolitan Melbourne due to the impact on small retailers,” James said.

 

Peter Strong, executive director of Australia’s Small Business Council, says the Small Business Commissioner – a role unique to Victoria – is the main initiative he’d like to see continue.

 

“Being one of the larger [state] economies, small business in Victoria has a big impact on the stability of the national economy,” Strong says.

 

“The big thing for us will be the continuation of the Small Business Commissioner and we expect the new government will do this.”