Portfolios - State Development & Industry

The Greens (WA) believe that the current single-minded focus of big business and governments on economic growth and increased resource consumption is not sustainable in our finite world. We need to shift our priorities from short term economic growth to the building of an economy that can deliver sustainable improvements in quality of life and the health of the planet.

Principles
The Greens (WA) believe in
 
  • an efficient, low carbon Western Australian economy powered mainly by renewable energy within this generation
  • sparking a boom in ‘green collar’ jobs in areas such as renewable energy, green buildings and water-efficient appliances
  • a revitalisation of small business, local economic activity and local communities
  • reporting based on true measures of progress rather than economic growth
  • just, efficient tax and revenue systems that address agreed social, ecological and economic objectives
Measures
The Greens (WA) will initiate and support legislation and other actions to:
 
  • The Greens (WA) will support legislation and other actions that:
  • deliver an efficient, low carbon economy through the clean energy, energy efficiency and other initiatives (see Greens (WA) Climate Change and Transport Policies)
  • create new 'green collar' jobs through expanding markets for green housing, energy and water-efficient appliances and through a combination of incentives and regulation (see Greens (WA) Climate Change, Water and Transport Policies)
  • implement a Small Business Summit to find viable ways government can improve the climate in which small business operates, including a review of restrictions caused by unnecessary or unwieldy government regulations
  • simplify State imposed taxation systems to free up time and resources of small business owners
  • end government subsidies1 to big business which cost State taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year
  • control trading hours and discriminatory trading practices which favour large one-stop shopping centres, which tend to be internationally owned franchise operations.
  • improve accessibility to local business through better planning and public transport
  • protect lessees from unfair charges on commercial leases
  • implement controls on leases which link rent to the turnover of the lessee's business
  • protect privacy of lessees' day-to-day business operations
  • provide affordable access to small business management skills courses
  • provide adequate and accessible training programs for staff in small businesses
  • increase research and development incentives to business and make these incentives more accessible to small business
  • simplify Western Australia's Workplace Agreement and Award system to allow smoother operations of these systems
  • Reporting based on true measures of progress 
  • substitute the Australia Institute's broadly based Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)2 for the cash transaction based Gross Domestic Product (GDP)3 as the standard measure of economic performance
  • have the Australian Bureau of Statistics report both GPI and GDP, and include on its website a description of the value judgements applied to compilation of GPI, with provision for online participation by the public to apply their own value judgements and obtain their own interpretation of GPI
  • adopt similar state-based reporting measures, to be included in all State Budgets
  • introduce simpler, fairer, progressive tax systems that are resistant to evasion and have low compliance costs to provide a secure revenue base for each level of government to fulfill its roles
  • replace the States’ current regressive taxes such as payroll, stamp duty and gambling taxes with socially just ecological taxes that promote thrift in resource use, favour labour intensity and sustainable community development and local self-sufficiency
  • independently review Commonwealth, State and local government service provision functions and revenue-raising powers with genuine public consultation
  • enhance the service role and income base of local government in the provision of services to bring service provision closer to the people, thereby enhancing democracy and economic efficiency in equitable ways
  • investigate the impact of economic globalisation and electronic commerce on transnational companies’ ability to avoid taxation, and ways to counter government revenue erosion
  • carefully direct industry assistance to ensure long term benefits to the community
  • focus industry assistance on local development, giving weight to social, community and environmental impacts and including a strategy for implementation
  • implement an independent industry support commission to administer industry assistance in an open and accountable way
  • subject specific industry assistance to a rigorous public assessment process with provision for public submissions and scrutiny by Parliament prior to contracts being signed or binding commitments made
  • ensure this assessment process is broad ranging to cover the "public good" and social, environmental, economic and financial consequences
  • include programs for performance standards that do not over-ride administrative procedures and bond systems under other legislation
  • require that the industry being targeted for assistance makes the information required to make these public assessments available
  • subject direct and indirect financial assistance to repayment conditions where appropriate and periodically review the continuation of the assistance
  • require public monitoring of industry assistance with annual reporting on outcomes in concise and readable formats
  • ensure that the Auditor General has the power and resources to audit the performance of industry assistance programs and State Agreement Acts
  • ensure that the government does not enter into competitive bidding to attract industry to the state
  • develop a Commonwealth-State agreement on national processes for industry assistance along these lines to limit unproductive competition between States
  • enable regular independent performance reviews of existing industry assistance and State Agreement Acts along the above lines, identifying where these need updating
  • ensure that local governments can rate projects under State Agreement Acts.

Footnote

1. These subsidies come in the form of cheap energy, free land, infrastructure, tax advantages, royalty holidays, underpriced resources, relaxation of anti-pollution guidelines and even the provision of funding and infrastructure for cleaning up their environmental messes.

Glossary

2. GPI - measures whether or not a country's growth, increased production of goods, and expanding services have actually resulted in the improvement of the welfare of the people. A GPI can more reliably measure economic progress, as it distinguishes between worthwhile growth and uneconomic growth

3. GDP - the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the country usually over a calendar year.

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