To many voters, the rebound looks like a recovery enough to dismiss corporate worries. Consumer confidence is high as Australians enjoy the savings they accumulated at the height of the pandemic in 2020. House prices are high, interest rates are low and rents are manageable as immigration has stopped.
So it seems that politics, following voters, seems little incentive to reopen and prioritize the reforms that companies are calling for. The Prime Minister on Friday released a “path” to reopening, but no date. The first step in the process is to reduce the number of people allowed to enter or leave the country. Meanwhile, we are wasting the benefits we have now.
I spoke to the CEDA panelists this week. CEDA boss Melinda Cilento believes our closed borders are costing Australia its relevance to the world: “The economics of geography still matters. Australians are considered to be the early adopters of the technology, but part of that is because we have been used as a test market for innovations to be commercialized around the world. While travel is almost impossible, our value as a stepping stone to Asia is reduced to zero.
Pradeep Philip also points out that without the ability to import specialized skills, we will no longer move up the value chain. “We now have the capacity to manufacture the Astra Zeneca vaccine, but we do not have the know-how to manufacture the innovative Pfizer jab mRNA. “
Moreover, the director of the company Diane Smith-Gander specifies that we do not operate in a vacuum. “Even though citizens cannot cross borders, goods always do. In other words, if companies in other countries benefit from
more favorable conditions, Australian companies will be outmatched and their employees will bear the consequences.
Ultimately, my taxi driver will pay for the disconnect between business and politics, even if he doesn’t have a seat at the table. Hopefully bitcoin turns out to be a lucrative investment.