Company bosses want to see radical reform

Colin Brinsden
Two-thirds of company directors want the government to rethink its agenda and policy priorities

Company bosses want to see the Morrison government take on a radical agenda that includes tackling climate change and tax reform to lift the economy in the post-coronavirus recovery.

They also want to see a cautious phasing out of the stimulus policies, such as the JobKeeper scheme, even at the cost of increased government deficits and debt.

A survey of 2300 company directors found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) want to see the government rethink its agenda and develop new policy priorities in a post-COVID-19 world.

"As we navigate our way through the COVID-19 recovery phase, it's clear that going back to pre-pandemic policy settings won't increase business confidence, strengthen social services or boost the economy," Australian Institute of Company Directors chief executive Angus Armour said.

"Now more than ever, Australia needs a policy agenda that supports sustainable growth, including energy/climate change policy and tax reform, and a regulatory environment that encourages risk-taking and innovation."

Aside from pursuing pro-growth, pro-innovation policies, almost half (47 per cent) want virtual AGMs, which were introduced during the height of the pandemic to enable social distancing rules, to become a permanent feature of the Corporations Act.

A similar number (42 per cent) want a pause on all additional regulation.

"COVID-19 has demonstrated our capacity to adapt and innovate, and we need to continue that momentum rather than risk drifting back to old ways," Mr Armour said.

He believes the introduction of the national cabinet presents a new way forward for federal and state relations, reducing the complexity and duplication of laws across the country that will be critical to economic efficiency and improved outcomes.

A large majority of respondents (79 per cent) indicated they want to see a gradual lifting of public health restrictions to minimise chances of outbreaks compared with 21 per cent who back a rapid lifting.

Similarly, 81 per cent indicated they would prefer to see a cautious phasing out of the stimulus policies such as JobKeeper and the coronavirus supplement, rather than a rapid wind-down - even at the cost of increased government deficits and debt.

The survey was conducted in the final two weeks of May with respondents coming from listed, large private, SMEs, public and not-for-profit organisations.