Australian Business Chiefs Prepare for Virus Exit

May 8, 2020 Updated: May 8, 2020

Work has begun on a plan to not only reawaken Australian businesses following the COVID-19 slumber but accelerate the recovery and put in place long-term reform.

The Business Council of Australia has set up a series of expert working groups, headed by some of the country’s top executives, to identify practical and achievable solutions to create jobs and boost the economy.

The groups will not only look at how to restart business and industry but put in place structural reforms to drive growth and higher wages.

They will draw on the expertise of Port Jackson Partners, Professor Ian Harper, Dr. Ken Henry, and banking chief economists.

Business Council board member and group managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil, Alison Watkins says all sectors of the economy need to contribute to the recovery effort.

“We are casting a wide net to develop the right policies to lift competitiveness, boost productivity and fire up our performance across the whole economy,” she said.

Watkins will chair the overarching working group, supported by smaller sector-specific groups covering such areas as the digital economy, energy and climate, financial services, health, housing, tax, regional development, and workplace relations.

Business Council president Tim Reed said it was a “once in a generation opportunity” to recraft Australian society and the economy.

“We don’t have time to waste. We need a common-sense approach that will remove the obstacles standing in the way of quickly getting Australians back to work and putting more money back into their pockets.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders agreed on May 8 to a three-step plan to restart business and community activities.

However, the states and territories are set to move through the three stages at different speeds, depending on their health situation and local conditions.

Treasury says it is possible to restore 851,000 jobs in the coming months if things go to plan.

By Paul Osborne