The Australian Services Roundtable will be a key contributor to a new review by the Australian government into barriers to services exports. The review, announced recently by the Government, is aimed at identifying the barriers to services growth and boosting Australia’s services exports. It will focus on the education, financial services, health services, information technology, professional services, and tourism sectors.
Services account for approximately 70 per cent of the Australian economy but only represent 20 per cent of Australia’s total exports, indicating massive export growth potential. And with over 1.5 billion people moving into Asia’s middle class over the next 15 years, Australia needs to ensure it is in the best position to take advantage of the opportunities at our doorstep in the Asian region, particularly as the domestic mining boom weakens and primary resources growth slows.
Domestic barriers to Australia’s services export growth include inappropriate tax systems, regulation variance between the states and restrictive labor market laws.
On the international scene, ASR members face many barriers to open services trade. These include our trading partners placing restrictions on cross-border data flow and storage as well as behind-the-border barriers, measured through ‘institutional quality’, which looks at rigidity in employment law, economic freedom, the scope for active private sector policy advocacy and the degree of corruption in government processes.