Jennifer Westacott.
Jennifer Westacott. Warren Lynam

Prepare for 'enormous social and economic change'

ONE of the nation's top business leaders wants politicians to respond to challenges facing the country.

Business Council CEO Jennifer Westacott outlined her vision at the Great Australia Day Breakfast at Victoria's Parliament House yesterday.

Ms Westacott said political leaders needed to address global forces of change by being open and honest with Australians.

"I want to ... make a blunt call to fellow Australians to crash through the road to nowhere discourse so we can get important and necessary things done," Ms Westacott said.

"Our politicians across all parties - whether they are in government or not - have one vital task; to prepare the community for the enormous social and economic change that must take place in our society."

She said massive change had hit Australia's economic outlook.

"Write-downs to economic forecasts in the mid-year budget update wiped billions of dollars off the budget bottom line," she said.

"The deficit has blown out to $40 billion, some $10 billion more than originally forecast."

"Interest repayments this year on that debt are $11 billion," Ms Westacott said.

"In October, the unemployment rate hit 6.3%, the highest rate recorded in 12 years.

"It fell back to 6.1% in December.

"But remember at the height of the global financial crisis it only reached 5.9% for a short period."

- APN NEWSDESK


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