How to take the hand brake off economic recovery
CPA Australia has called on the government to shift its policy focus to supporting business recovery and reinvention, with the goals of achieving strong productivity, employment and GDP growth without compromising long-term environmental or economic sustainability.
“Economic policy decisions should take advantage of the currently low cost of debt and should not be driven by shorter-term budgetary considerations. With record low interest rates, we need to keep the cost of servicing debt in perspective. Government debt should not be a hand brake on economic recovery,” said executive general manager policy and advocacy at CPA Australia, Dr Gary Pflugrath.
CPA Australia says the government must provide certainty for businesses to recover and reimagine their operations for the post-pandemic environment and that JobKeeper should not be changed before the scheduled September 2020 end date.
“Existing COVID-19 measures should be withdrawn from September in an orderly tapered manner, balancing the need to support businesses that are viable in the longer-term against the limited benefit in sustaining businesses that have little or no chance of recovery,” said Dr Pflugrath.
“The opportunity exists for many businesses to reboot and permanently change the way they operate. We expect technology to be key to this. However, with our Asia Pacific Small Business Survey showing that the level of technology use and investment by Australia’s small businesses is significantly lower than small businesses in Asia, state and federal governments need to greatly expand the support they provide to SMEs to better back the sector’s digital transformation efforts.
“To support businesses to embrace the efficiencies and experience of using technology, moving to a paperless office and remote working, temporary relief measures should be permanently adopted, including virtual AGMs, acceptance of electronic signatures and electronic lodgement and storage of forms and data.
“An important lesson from 2020 is that governments need to develop pre-prepared economic and policy frameworks that can be activated when a disaster occurs. This ‘break glass in emergency’ response should be designed so that it can be scaled up or down quickly in response to the nature and magnitude of a disaster. This would minimise the need to make policy on the run and reduce the time between a disaster and the delivery of considered and appropriate levels of assistance to directly and indirectly-impacted businesses.
“Another important lesson is that consideration of climate change policy and meeting our commitments under the Paris Agreement must be core principles in post-COVID-19 economic recovery policy.”
Do you think the government should retain JobKeeper past September 2020? What other measures could improve our economic future?