Business Council's Budget Blitz, 2017
The federal budget is one of the most feverish times for the Business Council’s members and staff, and Budget 2017-18 was no exception.
Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott was interviewed more than a dozen times in the hours immediately after emerging from the budget lock-up, fielding questions from the nation’s top political and business journalists.
Jennifer welcomed the government’s overall efforts to contain spending growth, but also raised serious concerns about reliance on new revenue measures – including the proposed $6.2 billion tax on banks.
“The projected surplus is fragile because it’s built on some pretty bold assumptions about economic growth that only a strong, competitive business community can deliver,” she told The Herald Sun.
“Here’s the point: this budget relies on business to succeed and we need to pull out all stops to make business more competitive.”
On the proposed bank tax to fund higher spending, Jennifer warned the “double tax” on banks may be good politics but said it could erode the superannuation earnings of millions of Australians.
Jennifer said the tax set a poor policy precedent and signalled that other successful industries, such as farming and mining, may be targeted if the parliament fails to control spending.
“Do we start saying we’re going to double-tax companies because we don't like them? Really?" Jennifer told ABC Radio.
“I understand the politics; I just don't get the policy.”
Listen to Jennifer speak with ABC Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas:
Watch Jennifer speak with ABC TV’s Leigh Sales:
Listen to Jennifer speak with Macquarie Radio’s Ross Greenwood:
Listen to Jennifer speak with ABC PM’s Eleanor Hall:
Watch Jennifer speak with Sky News’s David Speers:
Listen to Jennifer speak with ABC AM’s Peter Ryan:
Watch Jennifer speak with Today’s Karl Stefanovic:
Watch Jennifer speak with ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland: