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A document outlining the major issues facing the South Australian business community has been released by Business SA.

The Big Ten 2011highlights the 10 key issues that are currently having a major impact on local businesses and restricting competitiveness and economic growth.

Business SA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Vaughan, said that the snapshot summarised many of the concerns for local businesses.

“The South Australian economy is facing many challenges and this document provides a summary of the issues impacting the local business community,” Mr Vaughan said.

“With low confidence, rising costs and weak consumer spending, it is an ideal time to release a list of the major challenges restricting economic growth here in South Australia.

Calculator“By listening to our members, we are well aware of the issues that are standing in their way as they run their business.

“Business SA has been active with each of the 10 issues through developing submissions, conducting surveys and closely monitoring the progress of each.

“It is essential to have a competitive business environment that generates employment, economic growth and income for all South Australians.

“To achieve this we must maintain the spotlight on any barriers which are preventing our local economy reaching its full potential.”

The key issues in The Big Ten 2011 include:

The multi speed economy

“South Australia’s economy is currently operating in the slower gear of the two speed economy, and our higher than average unemployment rate, lower than average retail sales growth and weak business confidence highlight the pressures on business,” Mr Vaughan said.

High levels of taxation

“Independent reports continue to highlight South Australia as having the most uncompetitive business taxation system in the country which is giving interstate operators an advantage before we even get started.”

Education and training

“A well functioning education and training system is necessary to ensure that the workforce is highly skilled and that skills shortages are minimised.”

Skills shortages

“With strong industry-specific growth and an ageing population, it is essential to address the growing skills shortage issues facing the local economy. Strong population growth and skilled migration will help underpin strong economic growth.”

The Fair Work Act

“The Fair Work Act is not delivering the productivity that is needed and the transition to Modern Awards has created inflexibility and an increase in labour costs for many employers.”

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“Businesses acknowledge the need to pay fair wages, however this latest wage rise has added an enormous amount of pressure to those that can least afford it, forcing businesses to review employment levels and look at price increases.”

Workplace health and safety changes

“There are concerns about the new harmonised WHS legislation that will be introduced at the beginning of 2012 and compliance is complex, penalties are high and timelines are tight.”

Rising electricity prices

“South Australian electricity prices are not only the highest in the nation, they are rising rapidly, adding significant increases to the costs in doing business.”

Carbon price uncertainty

“The proposed carbon tax will hit the business community hard and as energy costs go up, prices will follow and this will hurt households, make businesses less competitive and put jobs at risk.”

Water security and affordability

“While increased rainfall has eased some concerns, there is still the urgent need to develop policy frameworks for water in both rural and urban areas that secure long term water supplies at affordable prices.”

The document is available to view online at www.business-sa.com

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