“Not only is Australia already an expensive place to do business, it has now also become a high-risk place. State and federal governments continue to radically change policies each time government changes hands. This uncertainty means Australia will lose major projects overseas,” IPA deputy executive director James Paterson said.
His call came after senior resources lawyer Robert Milbourne of K&L Gates said the election campaign had all but ignored its critical resources sector and also agreed that the Palaszczuk government had to “get serious” on the industry.
Paterson noted the Courier Mail reported on Tuesday that Political Monitor’s Australian Political Risk Index hit an 11-month high of 12.74 earlier in February, which points to a business sector in limbo, with thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in taxes and royalties are in jeopardy in Queensland as a result.
Australia ranks 124 out of 144 economies in terms of the burden of government regulation, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 Global Competiveness Report, revealing how rigid conditions are in Australia.
“The new government is justified in its view that taxpayers should not subsidise private businesses. However, it is more important that the government stops being a handbrake on companies that want to invest in projects which will boost the economy,” Paterson said.
“Overturning the Newman government’s green-tape reforms would be a huge mistake. Restoring the restrictive wild-rivers protection laws and making it easier for activists to tie up projects with objections will be a major disincentive for investment in Queensland.”
He said that if companies like Indian giant Adani decide to pull the pin on projects such as Carmichael, a very strong signal would be sent to other investors that doing business in Australia was now a risky proposition.