Article – Tony Abbott tells Davos: let business lead way

23 January 2014
Dennis Shanahan
The Australian

TONY Abbott will call on G20 nations to avoid a “government-knows-best” attitude as he advocates “getting out of the way” of private business, in his keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland tonight.

The Prime Minister will use his presidency of the G20 to promote global growth through national co-operation and a central encouragement for the private sector to take more risk, invest more and deliver sustainable economic growth.

In meetings in Zurich with Switzerland’s top investors in Australia and an address to the Australian business delegation to the forum, Mr Abbott has launched a pitch for the “absolute centrality” of private business to sustainable economic growth.

Declaring that Australia will take its own actions to cut taxes, raise productivity and reduce regulation, the Prime Minister will call on other nations to make way for business and free trade.
Mr Abbott says that although he is a long way from home at an international meeting, the issues are “very close to home” because global and national growth mean jobs for Australians.
In his keynote speech, Mr Abbott will call on G20 nations to develop their own plans to lift growth while working co-operatively and adopting a less interventionist approach.
“The challenge, right around the world, is to promote sustainable private sector-led growth and employment and to avoid government-knows-best action for action’s sake,” Mr Abbott will say. “As always, stronger economic growth is the key to addressing almost every global problem.”
Harking back to his election victory speech last year, Mr Abbott will point out to the 2500 delegates to the forum – including 40 world leaders, Shinzo Abe of Japan and David Cameron of Britain among them – that Australia is “under new management and open for business”.
“This year, Australia is in a unique position to help promote global growth as chair of the G20,” he will say.
“If the largest economies can individually achieve higher growth and can co-operate to achieve higher global growth, obviously every country benefits.
“At St Petersburg last year, each G20 country agreed to prepare its own comprehensive growth strategy to feed into a G20-wide action plan. This year’s Brisbane meeting is our chance to focus on the problems that, to a greater or lesser extent, all countries face; and, even more importantly, the problems that can only be solved by countries working co-operatively together.
“On trade, tax, infrastructure, employment and banking, we owe it to our citizens, on whose behalf we attend international conferences, to maximise the specific outcomes from this year’s G20.”
Since his arrival in Davos, the first trip to the forum of a sitting Australian prime minister since John Howard in 2005, Mr Abbott has been spreading his economic formula for growth, which centres on private sector investment.
Addressing Australian business leaders, Mr Abbott said it was easy for commentators and governments to forget “the absolute centrality of successful private business to prosperity”.
“You cannot have a society, you cannot have a community and you can’t have an economy without successful private business,” Mr Abbott said.
The Prime Minister has sought at every opportunity to link his advocacy for global growth, private sector investment and Australia’s G20 leadership with domestic gains for the economy and job creation.
Mr Abbott said the new government would do everything it could to bring down taxes, raise productivity and promote growth, while calling on the Labor Party and Bill Shorten to drop their opposition to the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes.
He said world business leaders had made it clear to him they wanted less government regulation and “stable government” as precursors to taking more risks and investing cash stockpiles developed since the global financial crisis.
“At the start of Australia’s G20 presidency, the government and the people of Australia look forward to welcoming world leaders to our country,” Mr Abbott said. In recognition of reluctance by some leaders to travel far to yet another meeting, he added: “I promise you, we will make your trip worthwhile.”

Courtesy of the Australian