Whole of government targets that will hold the State Government to account are a critical step to transform the Government’s transparency and accountability.
Outcome-based targets ensure all government departments and Ministers understand the KPIs they are jointly working toward, while providing WA businesses and the community with clear oversight of how they are tracking. This is a major step forward in accountability for the State Government and one that has long been championed by CCI.
Business creates more than four out of five jobs in WA, which means working with the private sector is essential to achieving a level of business investment that creates 150,000 jobs.
An average annual growth in employment of 2.3 per cent is required over the target period to achieve the Government’s objective. Given employment has grown at just 1.1 per cent per year on average for the past decade, this is a bold target. Treasury forecasts that employment will grow by 2.25 per cent in 2020-21 and 2021-22 which we believe is ambitious but achievable.
Small business will be essential to creating new jobs across the entire WA economy. Given that WA has the highest payroll tax burden of any state, making it more expensive to create jobs here than anywhere else in Australia, it is critical that this jobs tax is reduced to support the Government’s employment target.
A 3 per cent surplus of government revenue is essential to afford the State’s capital works program and pay down debt. It is more important than ever that the Government doesn’t achieve this through increased taxation, and instead continues to focus on limiting its own expenditure growth.
Raising taxes to achieve the 3 per cent surplus target, instead of continuing to rein in government spending, will only put a hand brake on economic recovery and work in contradiction to the Government’s 150,000 jobs target.
Achieving 30,000 additional, sustainable jobs in the regions will require a clear articulation of a strategic plan for royalties for regions. We encourage the Government to make this plan a priority to ensure these jobs are created and sustained.
For our economy to remain at the cutting edge globally we need the right skills driving businesses forward. STEM skills are essential to most businesses now and will be in the future. Partnering with industry to highlight the importance of STEM in the workforce to students will be essential to achieving the ambitious target set by the State Government.
CCI has previously recommended that that the Government adopt more innovative approaches to resolving complex social issues through social impact investment – partnering with the private sector to achieve social outcome targets.
The Government’s target to reduce youth recidivism by 2022-23 is one objective that could be achieved through a social impact investment partnership, as seen in the UK. We encourage the Government to assess opportunities to expand the scope of public-private partnerships to give both government and the community greater certainty that taxpayers money is being well spent and outcomes are achieved.
CCI looks forward to working with the Government to meet its ambitious targets to boost job creation and economic prosperity in this State.