The AFR reports:
Australia’s global competitiveness has slumped to the worst ranking in at least 18 years, slipping behind New Zealand, as business criticised the Abbott government’s failure to kick-start a fresh wave of infrastructure spending.
In a damning report done for the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, the nation’s ranking slipped to 18 from 17 a year ago. The deterioration continues a six-year slide that started in 2009, when Australia was ranked five.
For the first time in 18 years, New Zealand has jumped ahead of Australia, moving to 17 from 20, the IMD report shows.
17th isn’t bad, but not high enough. However the good thing is we are improving, while sadly Australia is not. You see what six years of Labor did to their competitiveness.
The findings are a major blow for Tony Abbott, who vowed upon being elected in 2013 to become the “infrastructure prime minister”. They also highlight ongoing dismay within the business community at the lack of movement on major new projects.
With the government using this month’s budget to borrow more to pay for a short-term boost through the $20,000 instant asset writeoff for small business, concerns continue to grow at the lack of longer-term economic investment to replace the resources boom.
“For Christ’s sake, something has to happen – the economy is not ticking over, interest rates and budget deficits are not at they level they are because things are doing well,” said CEDA chief executive Stephen Martin.
The Abbott Government seems to also lack direction and a clear plan.