Australia needs to create an environment where more business leaders enter the arena of policy formation, according to New South Wales Senator Andrew Bragg.
“We need people who will argue the case for a private economy and what is required to keep it competitive,” he said today.
Senator Bragg made the remarks at the Inaugural Tony Shepherd Oration, an event created by Senator Bragg to honour the businessman as part of the New South Wales Business Forum.
Tony Shepherd led construction of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, the EastLink and the Lane Cove Tunnel for Transfield.
He is also a past president of the Business Council of Australia.
“There are few people like Tony Shepherd,” Senator Bragg said.
“He has been prepared to put it on the line in the name of good ideas,” he said.
Senator Bragg said Mr Shepherd had “flown the flag for business.”
“Without people like Shep, Australia would face a policy formulation duopoly of the public service and unions or think tanks.”
Senator Bragg told the gathering hosted by NAB and Allens that enterprise and private investment underwrites the economy and in turn Australia’s success.
Senator Bragg said that although 90% of jobs rely on business the bulk of policy formulation did not come from private enterprise.
Unions, he said, had sadly become anti-business by opposing tax cuts and trade deals.
He pointed to the FinTech Inquiry under his Chairmanship as a classic example of promoting Australian entrepreneurship.
“In the age of mobile capital, we can either see technology as an employment creator or killer,” he said.
“If we give up on technology, we give up on our future because no other nation will turn their back on technology and innovation.”
Shepherd was introduced by the 44th Premier of New South Wales and NAB executive, Mike Baird and thanked by Coca Cola Amatil Chief Executive Alison Watkins.
Media: John Mangos | 0401 392 624