Australian Unions welcome the opportunity for a genuine policy debate on Australia's productivity, economic growth, tax system and retirement incomes at the National Reform Summit in Sydney today.
We need a long term plan for inclusive growth and prosperity that is supported by government, unions, business and community groups.
Australia must adapt and respond to the challenges and opportunities brought about by technological change, global competition and demographic changes, including an aging population.
Unions are committed to long term reforms which focus on growing our economic prosperity to deliver governments the revenue needed to continue to ensure decent living standards and opportunities for all Australians.
We must build our economy through strategies to boost our competitive advantage, invest in new technologies and export opportunities, value-added industries and high skill, quality jobs.
Rising inequality in Australia is a key threat to our future economic growth and must be a central focus of the reform agenda.
It is essential that governments continue to maintain Australia¹s strong social safety net, universal and high quality education and health care, effective superannuation system, solid minimum wage, employment standards and discrimination protection.
If our reform efforts do not focus on tackling inequality, creating jobs and growing the economy, we will continue to be driven by the short term politics of squabbling over budget and expenditure cuts to diminishing government revenue and a spiral of under investment in growth opportunities.
The following can be attributed to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:
"Unions are committed to ensuring policy reforms improve the living standards of working Australians and the most vulnerable in our society."
"Policy reform must focus on providing quality jobs, decent living standards and universal access to public benefits such as health and education."
"We need to focus on driving innovation, skills, efficient management and processes, investment in research, development and technology."
"Our economic growth and prosperity is too important to be left up to 'the market' we need a long term plan for inclusive growth and prosperity that is supported by government, unions, business and community groups."
Media contact: Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575 or Kara Douglas, 0418 793 885