High Court decision points to improved Federal/State relations, says BCA

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High Court decision points to improved Federal/State relations, says BCA

The High Court's decision on WorkChoices should point the Federal and State governments to a true common market in Australia according to Michael Chaney, President of the Business Council of Australia.

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The High Court's decision on WorkChoices should point the Federal and State governments to a true common market in Australia according to Michael Chaney, President of the Business Council of Australia.

As an example of the current lack of coordination, Chaney pointed to issues such as first aid kits that require distinctly different components depending on the State law applying.

He said the health kit issues may sound unimportant but 'try telling that to major businesses when they have to buy first aid kits for their operations throughout Australia'.

Failing our needs

Chaney raised these and other matters in the media this week in discussing Federal/State issues following the recent High Court decision validating the Federal Government's use of the corporations power for its workplace relations changes.

He said federation is failing to meet Australia's needs in the 21st century.

'At the moment, there is far too much finger pointing and blame shifting between tiers of government, leading to chronic inefficiencies that are undermining business and community confidence in our current system,' he said. 'Why should businesses operating across Australia face eight payroll tax regimes, or eight different occupational health and safety systems? Why should there be five minimum school starting ages in Australia?

Can't talk to each other

'There are 22 rail radio networks in place on trains around the country but the trains still can't talk to each other.'

Chaney said the BCA supports calls by State Premiers for a constitutional or national convention to discuss the future of our Federal system.

'The most constructive response State Governments can make to the High Court's decision is to show that, through co-operation, a true common market can be achieved in Australia,' he said. 'But if there is no progress on this important issue, it is now clear there is no constitutional barrier to the Commonwealth simply taking over.'

Chaney's speech can be read at the BCA website.

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