Catherine Livingstone. Photo"

Catherine Livingstone. Photo”

In an address this week Catherine Livingstone, president of the Business Council of Australia, lamented the economic mire Australia is fast becoming stuck in. She urged the government to slash the red tape hampering businesses, facilitate regulatory obstructions and do more to promote the industries, she says, are carrying this country – mining, agriculture, energy.

But has she asked enough?

Australia’s unemployment rate has just hit a ten-year high. The mining boom is dwindling to an end. Borrowing rates have been cut by the RBA in an effort to stimulate growth. Add to this the uncertainty created by the Government’s inability to push through even the most basic elements of its budget and it seems Ms Livingstone is asking the wrong people for help.

Glen Stevens, governor of the reserve Bank, alluded to this last week when he said, “My

RBA Governor Glen Stevens.

RBA Governor Glen Stevens.

sense is that in a lot of areas of business people are sitting around tables saying, ‘yeah, somebody needs to do something and we’re waiting for someone else to do it.’”

The federal government couldn’t even get the greens to support an excise on petrol! How can Ms. Livingstone then possibly hope this government to be able to cut red tape, smooth out regulatory hiccups and promote industry sectors?

Granted the government needs to do all these things. But it would certainly seem prudent for the business council to have a backup plan should the government be unable to help (as seems likely).

Every day these economic challenges go unanswered weakens our economy. Every day these economic challenges go unaddressed confidence in our economy slips. Yes, reform is needed. But business cannot wait for it. The time for entrepreneurship, and taking a few risks, is now.

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