Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth

Date: 23 March 2016
Type: Policy paper


Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth from AICD.

On 23 March 2016, Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) released an important national reform document: Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth

As a leading Australian institution, it is critical that the AICD engage in the debate about Australia’s future.

Informed by member insights over the last 12 months through our regular Director Sentiment Index, consultation with our Divisional Council and our Policy Committees,  the Blueprint seeks to set an agenda for political leaders based on principles of good governance:

  • A focus on the longer term, avoiding short-term decision making;
  • Creation of long-term value, for the nation and our community overall; and
  • Strategy and vision to benefit all stakeholders.

As our Chairman Elizabeth Proust AO FAICD said at the launch of the Blueprint, “The AICD has a diverse membership of nearly 38,000, collectively responsible for millions of jobs and billions of dollars across the economy. We can either run with a narrow agenda, which I think we’ve been guilty of in the past, or attempt to have a role in the broader debate about issues for the governance of the country in the medium-to-long term.  We’ve chosen to do the latter.”

Our driver is the need for long-term thinking in policy making. 

As all directors know, long-term decisions that deliver growth and build value are at the heart of good governance.  The Blueprint sets out a plan for long-term growth with recommendations in six key areas. We have deliberately kept our focus on a limited set of polices which we believe can be addressed over the next two years.

  1. Reforming national governance – calling for fixed, four-year terms for the federal government, and reforms to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process.
  2. Fiscal sustainability – calling for spending reforms to return government expenditure as a percentage of GDP to pre-GFC levels, and tax reform to promote economic growth, improve fairness and increase competitiveness. A change in the tax mix from inefficient direct taxes is recommended, supported by a lift in the GST rate (with compensation).  
  3. Innovation and entrepreneurialism – calling for a bipartisan policy agenda to lift Australia from ‘lag’ to ‘lead’ in global innovation, education and skills reform and review of current regulatory settings that encourage risk aversion.
  4. Partnership with not-for-profits – calling for five-year funding cycles for the NFP sector and national harmonisation of regulatory settings.
  5. Human capital – calling for a boost to female workplace participation to grow GDP and reforms to simplify the industrial relations framework and improve its governance.
  6. National infrastructure – calling for a 15-year infrastructure plan with project reporting, benchmarking and governance, and asset recycling to support new investment.

As the voice of excellence in governance, the AICD brings a unique perspective – informed by the insights of our diverse membership – to the challenges facing our nation. If adopted, these reforms will ensure Australia is more prosperous, successful and innovative than it is today.

The policy prescriptions in the Blueprint will not represent the views of all members, and our list of issues is not exhaustive. Please share your feedback via our LinkedIn Member Group  or directly by emailing us at nationalreform@aicd.com.au

Read the full report, Governance of the Nation: A Blueprint for Growth.