Business blast: Point scoring, pork barrelling and sledging is no way to run a country

After less than two weeks of the federal election campaign business groups have signaled they have had enough of the gotcha moments, personal attacks and the deafness of politicians to the real needs of the community.


Apr 21, 2022, updated Apr 21, 2022
BHP minerals Australia president Edgar Basto with workers Photo: BHP).

BHP minerals Australia president Edgar Basto with workers Photo: BHP).

At a Queensland Futures Institute function today, the state’s major business groups said respect had to return to political debate, but most importantly that governments started finding ways to tackling the critical shortages of workers.

Of seven industry groups present, all said getting more workers and upskilling existing ones had become a desperate mission. They also said there was no shortage of other issues for politicians to pursue, including housing and a master plan for the Olympics.

“We have a war on talent, right now,” Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive Priscilla Radice said.

“There is an obvious focus in Australia where we can bring more women into the workforce.

“If we had equal pay for women we would bring $60 billion into the GDP of Australia by 2038.”

The issue for the mining industry is now so severe that some companies are advertising for truck drivers at $140,000 with a $10,000 sign-on bonus and a further $5000 referral bonus, while mining giant BHP said labour issues were expected to be an issue for the remainder of the year.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said business was yearning for governments to be outcome focussed and collaborative while Radice said the point-scoring in politics had to end.

“In the middle of an election campaign we are yearning for a government that is approaching things with an outcome focus,” he said.

“We have been dragged into shouting matches. It’s not the way to engage.

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“What is frustrating though is that we can have debates on issues but when it comes to personalities or scoring points I think we should step away. It undermines our capacity to deal with the issues.”

Radice added that “we can’t keep doing the point-scoring, the pork barrelling”.

“Some really difficult and complex conversations have to be had with communities about the decisions we make and the actions we have to take. We need to accept that the world is changing dramatically and the Federal Government has a role to look at national resilience.

“We really deserve honest and real conversations. They need to lead with hope and not fear, especially in regional communities were there is a big transition in new communities and we keep having these negative conversations.”

She said society had to get comfortable with compromise.


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