Government releases Agenda to boost economy

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Federal Government this week released its Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda as part of the Coalition’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said Australia had experienced 23 years of economic growth, but that there would no doubt be some challenges ahead.

“Commodity prices have fallen from their peak in 2011, Government finances have deteriorated significantly since 2008, we have an aging population and productivity has been flat,” Mr Pitt said. 

“This Agenda focuses on Australia’s strengths to tackle these challenges head on. 

“We’ve already scrapped the carbon and mining taxes; cut over 10,000 pieces of unnecessary legislation and regulations; commenced the largest infrastructure construction programme in Australia’s history and signed Free Trade Agreements with Japan and Korea.”

The Agenda sets out four ambitions that will ensure job creation and higher living standards:

1. a lower cost, business friendly environment with less regulation, lower taxes and more competitive markets;

2. a more skilled labour force;

3. better economic infrastructure; and

4. industry policy that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship

Agenda highlights include:

  • From 1 July 2015, the Commonwealth Government will invest $200 million each year to establish the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to lift apprenticeship completion rates and provide employers with the skilled and productive employees they need to grow their business.
  • The Government will invest $38 million to provide 7,500 scholarships in specific regional areas where youth unemployment is high
  • The new Youth Employment Pathway will support community programmes for 3000 disengaged 15-18 year olds in regional areas
  • The Government will implement new measures to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills in Australian schools
  • The Government will improve the integrity of the 457 visa programme to ensure that sponsored workers are a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the local workforce

Mr Pitt said the Government would also allocate $188.5 million to fund Industry Growth Centres in five key sectors:

  • food and agribusiness;
  • mining equipment, technology and services;
  • oil, gas and energy resources;
  • medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; and
  • advanced manufacturing sectors

“This region is renowned for its seafood, fruit and vegetables and sugarcane and, as such, I will be asking the Minister to consider basing the food and agribusiness centre in the Hinkler electorate,” Mr Pitt said.

The Government will host a series of roundtable meetings around Australia over coming months to consult the business community, industry associations and peak bodies on the policy directions outlined in the Competitiveness Agenda.

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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