THE recent revelation from the World Economic Forum (WEF) that Australia’s international competitiveness has slipped to 21st in the world shows the new Coalition government must urgently provide better support for doing business in this country, says resource industry employer group AMMA.

Despite top 10 rankings in education, legal matters, scientific research and corporate governance, the latest WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14 places Australia behind New Zealand at 18th, Canada at 14th and the United Kingdom at 10th, in terms of global competitive performance.

In addition to government bureaucracy and taxation issues, the WEF research shows that labour inefficiency is also dragging down the nation’s overall global ranking, with restrictive labour regulation identified as the biggest problem for doing business in Australia.

“In 2007, Australia’s resource industry was the first sector to raise concerns that plans to re-regulate the national workplace system would lead to excessive cost pressures, productivity stagnation and an erosion of international competitiveness,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.

“Australia’s labour market efficiency is now ranked just 54th in the world when just two years ago it sat at 13th. Our productivity is ranked 113th in the world, wage flexibility 135th and labour relations 103rd.”

Knott urged the incoming Coalition government to keep productivity at the top of the agenda by committing to workplace relations reform that wound back Labor’s six-year practice of placing unions and bureaucracy between employers and employees, as outlined in AMMA’s Fair for Who? paper.

“There was a lot of talk about productivity in the lead-up to the election, with both parties claiming to have the answers,” Mr Knott says.

“Now, the new Coalition Government must deliver concrete policies, especially labour market policies, that support investment, competitiveness and the ability to successfully do business in this country.”

AMMA’s recent Productivity Discussion Paper outlines a range of legislative and non-legislative initiatives that the Coalition should take up to revive Australia as a globally productive, competitive nation.