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‘An absolute disgrace’: Former BCA boss slams state of energy in Australia

Ross Greenwood says a Morrison-led government faces two major policy challenges: energy and tax.

The new Morrison government hasn’t yet indicated whether the National Energy Guarantee will be revived or whether Australia will continue its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Former president of the Business Council of Australia Tony Shepherd tells Ross Greenwood the government has to deal with the nation’s energy crisis.

“There is no doubt that the cost of energy has slowed down growth in Australia, forced business to go offshore and cost us jobs and growth,” he says.

Mr Shepherd says it’s a “disgrace” that one of Australia’s largest aluminum smelters was forced to close because energy reserves became so depleted.

“There’s probably less interconnection, in relative terms, between New South Wales and Victoria than between East and West Germany at the height of the Cold War.

“And the fact, that in 2018, we have to close an industrial plant because of failure of electricity supply is an absolute disgrace.

“It’s something that a prosperous country like Australia should not put up with!”

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The government is also yet to address whether it’ll revive a plan to reform company tax, after the package was dumped by Malcolm Turnbull in his final week in office.

Chair of the Productivity Commission Peter Harris tells Ross Greenwood having one rate for small and medium-sized businesses, and another rate for big businesses, doesn’t make sense.

“If you have a distinction point about turnover… where there’s a lower tax rate, then as firms approach that they’re going to do everything they can to ensure they don’t go over it and vary their tax rate.

“That’s just a waste of effort.”

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