Alex Malley is Chief Executive of CPA Australia

Date issued: 2 August 2013

Today’s Economic Statement is a missed opportunity. It was the government’s chance to articulate a credible economic vision for the nation.

The business community was looking for initiatives to improve our international competitiveness, encourage growth and provide jobs.

What we got was a schedule of measures to cut jobs and increase the cost of living in a rush to turn a $30.1 billion deficit this year into a modest surplus in 2016-17.

We welcome the Government’s attempt to account for the policy announcements made since Kevin Rudd was reinstated as Prime Minister, but the fundamental problem – which we’ve endured since the Gillard Government – remains: economic plans are still being developed with a return to surplus as the ultimate objective.

Will a rush to surplus help cement Australia’s future prosperity and international competitiveness? The answer is "no."

The government’s attempt to calm protests over their cap on deductions for self education expenses misses the mark. Deferring implementation by a year to allow for consultation only moves the start date of a bad policy which, if carried through, would undermine Australia’s competitiveness and hinder our transition to a knowledge-based economy.

What we need – from both parties – is a credible, transparent vision that details the measures they will take to improve and sustain Australia’s international competitiveness. Only then will Australians have the necessary information to make an informed decision before heading to the polls.