By Angela Mentis – Group Executive of NAB Business Banking
The Australian economy and business community is at a critical juncture.
Confidence is up and business conditions are improving. There’s a stronger sense of optimism than there has been for some time. We know in NSW and Victoria there is positive sentiment in the small-to-medium business community of tradespeople, accountants, cafes, restaurants and the like.
Interest rates are at historic lows, Australia’s position in the global economy is strong, and recent Budget measures are setting up small businesses.
The conditions are right, but caution remains. So why as a nation do we seem reluctant to embrace this confidence and turn it into defining economic activity that will set Australia on its next phase of growth and investment?
The world is changing. But are we changing fast enough? Are we adapting in a way that is significant enough to transform the Australian economy so we cannot just compete, but lead globally?
While confidence is up, we seem to be waiting for a sign or signal that it’s OK to go out and grow and invest. We can’t afford to wait. We need to get out there and back ourselves.
Our community and business leaders have a significant role to play to create the vision and path forward.
As the nation’s biggest business bank, NAB believes we need to create a taxation system that is simpler, which would free up capacity for business to spend more time innovating and growing.
NAB is advocating deregulation. We support the recently signed Free Trade Agreements with three of our major north Asian trading partners and we back changes to Australia’s visa system to address labour shortages in agribusinesses.
We are also investing heavily in our own business. And this is where we all need to be — to have the commitment and desire to turn the optimism and confidence we see today into lasting activity that will build a better Australia.