Speeding up from top down

With New Zealand overtaking us in the business stakes, could our multi-level government system be holding us back?

I have just been in New Zealand and observed how progressive the kiwis really are! It seems every time we are up against them in business, they out-perform us. In the last few weeks, we have seen them exemplified in trade, export, tourism, accreditation, immigration, and workforce management—the list goes on.

So can their success be credited to their straightforward government structure? Is our own multi-tiered system holding back a country that boasts 20 million people and huge natural resources, while a country less than one-quarter our size streaks ahead?

At first blush, the answer is yes. In a repidly changing economy, we need to be able to react quickly. New Zealand does it without the need for state government intervention, taking decisive action and quickly positioning the country where it needs to be.

Australia, on the other hand, is captured by a lowest common denominator mentality, where we can only move at the pace of the slowest state. Worse still, it sometimes means not moving forward at all. The pace of change appears not to be slowing—globalisation is taking over and trade boundaries are blurring. It’s a dangerous environment in which to operate when not performing at our peak. Recent talk of ‘new federalism’ could be the only hope of Australia getting back on the front foot. Let’s hope our government can provide some strong leadership to make it work.

Con Castrisos
President, Restaurant & Catering  Australia

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