Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
At a time when the Turnbull government is pursuing corporate tax cuts, a new survey suggests tax reform, or lack of, is not keeping Australian business leaders awake at night.
Instead, bosses are more worried about innovation – especially as it relates to digital technology – cost competitiveness and energy prices.
These are the top three findings in research conducted by consultants KPMG when 200 firms were asked about their main worries heading into 2018.
“There are no shortage of voices in the public debate loudly declaring what is top of mind for business, but this report takes a measured and analytical look at the real issues of primary concern to business leaders,” KPMG Australia CEO Gary Wingrove said on Wednesday.
While no one can confidently predict the exact disruptions that lie ahead, organisations that get their innovation culture right will be the ones who can harness change to their benefit, he said.
KPMG tax partner Grant Wardell-Johnson said while traditionally Australia had a high cost of labour, it had a below-average cost of electricity for industrial users.
“Unfortunately, this favourable cost-competitive position has been eroded over the past two years as domestic prices of electricity and gas have soared,” he said.
The survey also suggested Australia’s corporate tax system acts as a further impost on firms’ ability to earn internationally competitive returns.
However, tax reform didn’t make the top 10 concerns.
TOP 10 ISSUES OF CONCERN FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS LEADERS IN 2018.
1 – Digital and Innovation
2 – Cost competitiveness
3 – Energy
4 – Regulation
5 – Government efficiencies
6 – Public trust
7 – Infrastructure and liveable cities
8 – Fiscal sustainability
9 – Big Data
OTHER AREAS OF IMPORTANCE BEYOND THE 10
– Climate change
– Tax reform
– Social cohesion
– Affordable housing
– Defence and security
– Indigenous business