Call to Action

This is a joint submission from the Canberra Business Council (CBC), Consult Australia, the Master Builders Association of the ACT (MBA -ACT), the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA ) and the Property Council of Australia (Property Council).

Together, our members represent more than 5,000 businesses across the region, and across the entire property and property and construction sector. We have a long term commitment and interest in the future of Canberra.

Industry is united by a common thread of confidence in the attributes of Canberra and the region, in the quality of our lifestyle and in wanting to secure a bright future for the city and our community.

Collectively, we believe Canberra has the potential to enhance its international status as a world-class city and to increase its profile in liveability indices. In the Property Council’s My City survey, Canberra is already ranked the second most liveable city in Australia – a place that is characterised by residents as being well maintained, safe, unpolluted and with minimal traffic.

A strong business environment together with a robust property and construction industry will grow and diversify the ACT economy and provide the necessary resilience to weather volatile market conditions as well as Federal Government decisions such as reductions in public service numbers. Positive action from the ACT Government to encourage and support investment will enable our industries to capitalise fully on the multitude of opportunities inherent in our city and to transform Canberra into a place where people choose to live, work, visit and play.

Industry recognises the positive work of the ACT Government in recent years in this arena. We have supported and provided detailed comment on most government industry initiatives including draft planning and policy proposals and towards the framing of the annual budget. Our members have collectively and generously volunteered their time, experience, expertise and enthusiasm to many government advisory groups and committees.

However, we are concerned that many of our comments remain unheeded and that change is not happening quickly enough.

There is a very real potential for the business and development industries to descend into a sustained downturn, the flow-on effects of which will have detrimental implications for the ACT economy. The risk of a significant downturn is being exacerbated by regulatory and other policy settings including escalating levels of red tape and a tax environment that discourages much needed investment and fair competition.

The non-government sector (and not just the two governments) has a vital role to play in our city. Without a healthy and vibrant non-government sector the city will stagnate and regress.