Blog

A roadmap for Western Australia. Kick-starting our economy.

by 27 June 2020

Proof East shuns WA’s hard work

by 17 June 2020

Happy West Australia Day!

by 1 June 2020

Red tape holds back growth

by 29 May 2020

 

Article by Cian Hussey courtesy of the West Australian

 

The WA State Government is leading the way for a post-lockdown recovery based on slashing business-crushing red tape to support small businesses.

Premier Mark McGowan’s moves to make it easier for certain businesses to change how they use their premises and streamline the process for development applications are welcome.

However, the Government can and must go further in cutting red tape to make WA an economic powerhouse in the wake of the devastating lockdown which has smashed the productive private economy.

Red tape imposes an enormous burden, reducing economic output to the tune of $176 billion across Australia each year.

While this is a dangerous handbrake on prosperity, it is also a serious moral issue.

By preventing people from starting new businesses, innovating new products and creating opportunities for themselves and their families, red tape stifles the aspirational spirit that drives so many West Australians.

Recent analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs estimated that the private sector has been crippled by the coronavirus lockdowns, while the public sector remains relatively unscathed.

Jobs in the private sector have decreased by 7.7 per cent since the middle of March while the public sector has seen only a 1.7 per cent decline.

Despite politicians insisting that “we are all in this together”, their pay and hours remain the same while 1.3 million people have had to work fewer hours and another 900,000 have lost their jobs entirely, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This environment, where the private sector is punished while the public sector remains unscathed, cannot be maintained if there is to be an economic recovery.

The private sector accounts for 80 per cent of economic activity, and it is only by taxing this activity that we can afford public services such as roads, schools, and hospitals — including ICUs for coronavirus patients.

The number one priority must be maximising this wealth creation, and slashing red tape is one of the best ways to do this.

The link between red tape and economic prosperity is clear.

Cutting red tape allows for more businesses, more jobs, and higher wages. It allows people to experience the dignity of work, and encourages people to be enterprising by reducing unnecessary compliance costs.

Most importantly, red tape disproportionately impacts small businesses, so cutting red tape will provide a boon to sole traders and family-run businesses across WA.

Small businesses are vital to the West Australian economy.

According to the most recent data from the ABS, there are 226,416 small businesses in WA. At least there were before the lockdown started in March.

Creating new businesses is essential to the economic recovery. Small businesses don’t just provide an income to their owners and employees, they provide a sense of community and a ladder to prosperity.

WA has been incredibly successful in containing COVID-19 , and has done so without carelessly treading on freedoms as the Eastern States so willingly did.

The WA Government should quickly lift the remaining restrictions on businesses, while maintaining social distancing and hygiene requirements.

After allowing all businesses to reopen, Mr McGowan must slash red tape.

The tentative steps taken in this direction are encouraging, but there is no shortage of overzealous regulation that can be discarded.

WA has 107,812 individual regulations on the books, according an IPA analysis published last year.

Food truck owners who want to set up at the local park or do the rounds of the suburbs are simply not allowed to do so.

They can only serve customers in registered areas and at certain events, all of which have been cancelled.

Chauffeurs who have seen their bookings drop by 80 per cent or more are still required to pay 10 per cent of every fare to the Government’s taxi plate buy-back scheme. And that’s in addition to GST.

And when a Perth surgeon wanted to start an intimate, high-end wine bar on William Street, he was forced to spend upwards of $12,000 on communicating with police about his liquor licence.

This kind of onerous and petty red tape is simply unaffordable in the post-COVID-19 economy.

Mr McGowan must set an example for his Eastern States peers. By slashing red tape, the Government will allow West Australians to create a bonanza State once again. Cian Hussey is a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.

Tape-slashing business taskforce to be appointed if CLP takes office

by 23 May 2020

Article by Madura McCormack courtesy of the Northern Territory News

Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro will today reveal the party plans a ‘can do’ approvals fast-track taskforce as a matter of priority to advise the Government how it can halve approval waiting times and streamline processes.

A WHIP-CRACKING taskforce will be created to cut red and green tape in the NT and halve approval time frames for business and industries if the CLP takes government at the August election.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro will today reveal the party plans a “can do” approvals fast-track taskforce as a matter of priority to advise the Government how it can halve approval waiting times and streamline processes.
The taskforce would do this by developing a detailed list of legislative and regulatory repeals and amendments within six months of formation to make the Government more efficient.

It would also perform “regular spot checks of application waitlists” to identify approval impediments within various departments, require departmental heads to implement recommendations approved by cabinet and remove duplication of processes between different arms of government.
The taskforce, which would be guided by an external volunteer board made up of business and industry representatives, would report to the chief minister’s office.
The taskforce itself would be staffed by “technical and legal experts” sourced from across government.
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“In the CLP, we know that unless you embrace business, entrepreneurship and encourage risk-taking for businesses you will never realise the potential economic and job-creation rewards,” Ms Finocchiaro said.
“At the moment processes for things like mining management plans, liquor and environmental approvals can be overly complicated, costly and time-consuming.
“Under the Gunner Government’s cumbersome regime, businesses are deterred from going ahead with investment, or even cancel it. “Our processing time frames are also a major deterrent on interstate and international business looking to invest.”
The CLP’s new policy comes a day after it promised to scrap NT’s hybrid mining tax model, which was introduced by the Labor Government two years ago.
The current mining tax system is loathed by the mining industry because it is seen as a disincentive for investment.
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A CLP government would have an ad valorem-only royalty system for all new mining operations, based on the WA regime.
Ms Finocchiaro would phase in the system for existing mines, in consultation with industry.

Red-tape removal ‘key to growth’

by 20 May 2020

Article by Rosie Lewis.

Industry and Science Minister Karen Andrews has issued a call to arms to the states and territories to cut red tape and encourage project approvals or upgrades to help Australia recover from the coronavirus crisis. In an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, Ms Andrews will also reject any push to nationalise industries or create government-owned entities, saying that history has proven “the folly of that approach” . She will say the government will prioritise securing the nation’s economic sovereignty by building an even stronger manufacturing sector, with simplifying red tape and regulation crucial. But she warns that complete self-sufficiency should not be the end goal. “Manufacturing Australia cite the fact that a factory can be proposed , approved, built and operational in America in less time than it takes to jump the very first approval hurdle in Australia. That’s simply not good enough,” she says in an advance copy of her speech. “I see a big role for governments in streamlining those processes and facilitating new project approvals or upgrades. That’s one of the big lessons we take out of what we’ve achieved in our pandemic response. We’ve seen what is possible if we facilitate, rather than overregulate.” The national cabinet, which Scott Morrison is considering making permanent beyond the pandemic, will be cited as a “great exemplar for what can be achieved” . The Prime Minister and premiers have used national cabinet to announce immediate and medium-term responses to the coronavirus outbreak. “For too long governments have been duplicating, and at times competing with, each other when it comes to policy and service delivery for business and industry , wasting taxpayer dollars and causing confusion and frustration in the process,” Ms Andrews will say. “We simply can’t return to politics as usual. We’ve proven what can be achieved. “Just as we’ve dedicated ourselves to an effective pandemic response, we need to put no less importance on building national manufacturing capability to ensure our economic sovereignty.” Ms Andrews will insist the federal government’s most recent, $215m, contribution to the manufacturing modernisation fund, worth less than a quarter of the total project costs it is supporting, is a strength and not a weakness. “( Manufacturing) must be enterprise-driven ,” she will say.

 

Economic reforms key for WA growth

by 20 May 2020

Article by Dean Nalder – WA Shadow Treasurer

Now more than ever, WA needs to undertake significant economic reform to create jobs quickly and stimulate a fragile economy. It’s worth remembering that before COVID-19 , our domestic economy was fragile at best. Recent events have done even more economic damage making it now imperative to: › Cut energy costs for businesses and households; › Reform inefficient taxes and charges like stamp duty; › Increase spending on major infrastructure and commit to big job-creating projects like Roe 8 & 9; › Slash government red and green tape and identify and support establishment of critical industries and businesses. Broader macro-economic issues coupled with poor economic decisions by the McGowan Government have adversely impacted many areas in our domestic economy. Business investment fell seven per cent in 2018-19 , continuing a six-year decline, while in January a record 151,000 households were under significant mortgage stress; that is, the expenses of running a house far outweighed the family’s monthly income. At the same time, WA’s unemployment rate sat at 5.8 per cent, well above the 5.3 per cent national average. Our retail sector recorded the steepest decline of all States, and the average price of a Perth home was more than 21 per cent below the 2014 peak. While the domestic economy has been weak throughout Labor’s tenure, we must now use the challenge of COVID-19 to make long-term structural change to put WA on the right economic setting for the coming decades. Industry bodies and commentators have recommended public infrastructure spending to reboot the economy, an important measure in the short to medium term. Immediately unlocking $1.2 billion in readily available Commonwealth funding to build Roe 8 & 9 and provide thousands of jobs for West Australians would be a good start. But we still need more ways to broaden our economy in the longer term. The reduction of energy costs for households and businesses is essential. To underpin real jobs growth, we must attract industry to WA by providing access to cheap energy and long-term contracts. WA is fortunate to have an abundant supply of wind, sunshine and natural gas which should provide us with a competitive advantage in energy, yet WA is only utilising a fraction of the domestic gas reserve. According to an Australian Energy Market Commission report released last December, we have the second-highest residential electricity charges in the country. WA needs leadership on State energy policy to better support our gas producers to facilitate utilisation of our domestic gas. WA also needs broad-based tax reform focusing on inefficient taxes. Stamp duty alone is a barrier to home ownership and a deterrent for upsizing and downsizing. Deloitte analysis says reforming stamp duty would lead to a potential 60 per cent uplift in transactions and generate almost $1 billion per annum in additional economic activity in WA. We must also simplify government red and green tape to support and grow WA industry and encourage business investment. Let’s remove the need for business to deal with multiple government departments and agencies. A simple, single State-wide industry process is long overdue. It is also critical that industrial estates have government approvals in place to provide certainty for investors and allow projects to start sooner and without unnecessary duplication. COVID-19 has also thrown the spotlight on what remains of our manufacturing sector, sparking debate about whether we have become too reliant on foreign countries for critical supplies. It’s a perfect time to look at gaps in our supply chains and identify critical businesses that could be established, or perhaps re-established , in WA. WA is the best place in the world to live and raise a family. COVID-19 provides an extraordinary opportunity to remove roadblocks so it can become one of the best places in the world to establish and grow a successful business. Dean Nalder is the WA shadow treasurer

WA mining ‘saved the national economy’

by 29 April 2020

 

Article by Sarah Ison courtesy of the West Australian

So many opportunities

by 29 April 2020

Excerpt article by Alan Jones courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

Gina Rinehart had to get over 4000 regulatory approvals — permits, licenses, you name it, over 4000.
How can we seriously talk about productivity?
Yet the opportunities are out there, waiting for us.
We just lack the vision, I hate the word, and the will to grab these opportunities by the throat.
Central to our future must be water
Every impediment is placed in the way of harvesting water.
The Fitzroy River, in the Kimberleys, in Western Australia, wastes 7000 gigalitres of water every year in the average wet season.

It flows into the Indian Ocean.

The Fitzroy River area in Western Australia wastes 7000 gigalitres of water every wet season.

 

That’s 14 times the amount of water in Sydney Harbour, flowing past productive Australia and into the ocean.
Can you get a licence to access this water?
Don’t be stupid! At last count, the West Australian government allowed one water licence.
How much water?
Six gigalitres!
That leaves 99.9991 per cent of the water racing into the Indian Ocean.
How many cattle could we raise with that?
How many crops could we grow?
As Gina Rinehart has pointed out, according to American and Canadian research, cattle could put on between 15 per cent and 28 per cent more weight, over a year, by drinking clean water.
Just imagine if this water were harvested.
It’s not just the farmer who would benefit.

 

That much water is 14 times the amount found in Sydney Harbour. Picture: Gaye Gerard

Cut the red tape
What about the other supporting industries –— those who supply the tanks, the troughs, the hydraulic crushers, the truckies, the fencers, even accountants.
Red tape and bureaucracy are everywhere, scaring off investment and an impediment to economic growth.
In Sydney you can’t build the Ritz Carlton hotel.
That has to be the laugh of the year.
Government is elected, but it clearly can’t govern.

It has been a battle to get the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residential Tower at The Star Sydney built.

 

Barry O’Farrell became premier in 2011.
Then, as now, we had a massive housing shortage.
I remember telling the premier that I could name for him reputable developers who were “shovel-ready”.
“Give the names to Brad Hazzard”, he said, “the planning minister.”
I did. The projects are still “shovel-ready”, nine years on.
Yet, Sydney has a housing requirement of more than 300,000 homes over the next 20 years.
A reputable developer is wanting to build 20,000 homes, provide 30,000 jobs and $10 billion of private sector investment.
But, no one can navigate their way through the cesspool of bureaucracy which seems to have the government by the throat.

Former premier Barry O’Farrell with his planning minister, Brad Hazzard.

 

With this approach, by bureaucracy-driven government, we will never be able to pay the bill that alarmism has imposed on all of us.
It was Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, the 19th century French critic and journalist who argued, in translation, that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.
The acid test is upon us.
If the response to the changes wrought by the coronavirus, sponsor the same impediments to economic growth as existed before the crisis, then we may as well start waving the white flag.
Listen to the Alan Jones Breakfast Program on 2GB weekdays from 5.30am-9am

 

 

 

Anzac Day | Lest we forget

by 25 April 2020

Link to the Last Post and Rouse

Link to Spirit of the Anzacs