With Parliament back this week, it’s time for our political leaders to put the chaos in Canberra firmly behind them and get on with the job.
General economic indicators are pointing in a positive direction and there are some obvious and immediate challenges that we need our leaders to address.
The impact of the drought is going far beyond the farm gate. The NSW Business Chamber recently released business survey data that identified 84 per cent of businesses in regional NSW had been negatively affected by drought, while almost 70 per cent of affected businesses indicated their local economy had been weakened.
The drought is impacting not only the primary producers but all parts of the supply chain, including retailers, manufacturers and tourism operators.
While a pollie in a dusty paddock is always going to ensure a headline or a photo in the papers, we need our politicians to be looking to take decisive action to support regional businesses and jobs in areas of Australia that have, and continue to be, ravaged by drought.
The ping-pong around energy policy must also stop. The rhetoric coming from the politicians must be converted to definite actions to provide an environment with substantially greater market and investment certainty than currently exists. We are told there is a high likelihood of a long, hot and dry summer for the east coast, and the prospects of blackouts loom large.
The cost to business in this scenario is huge, especially in regions such as the Hunter. The Chamber’s energy comparison program is making huge strides to relieve the cost pressures for business, but we still need reliability in supply and a pipeline of projects.
It’s time our elected officials stopped talking about themselves and started concentrating on helping those who they purport to represent.