Ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott had a clear message to Gold Coast business leaders when he spoke to them today: “Thank God for you”.
Mr Abbott was in the city today as the keynote speaker at the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce’s GC SHOWCASE: Celebrating Business and Creativity.
“What we don’t do nearly enough is pat business people on the back and say thank God for you. Because if we didn’t have you, we wouldn’t have what we so often take for granted: We can only have communities because we have economies to sustain them; and we can only have economies because we have profitable, private business,” said Mr Abbott.
“No country can tax its way to prosperity, and government does not create wealth. The only entities to create wealth are businesses and individuals.”
Mr Abbott told the audience about his own 50 years of Gold Coast history – visiting every Christmas with his parents as a child, and that his parents had owned a unit in Miami for 30 years.
He described what he liked about the city as that “you don’t have to be rich to have a rich person’s lifestyle”, and that many people on the Gold Coast had a “house that millionaires would not enjoy in Sydney.”
But the speech wasn’t all positive, with Mr Abbott saying that at the moment in Australia there was “much to be dissatisfied with”.
“Our housing prices rival those of Hong Kong. Construction costs are about thirty per cent higher than in the United States or Britain. Our regulatory costs are high and our communications costs are high,” he told the audience.
Mr Abbott then offered his view of solutions:
HOUSING: “Modest scaling back of immigration – at least until housing and infrastructure has caught up. At least until all of our recent arrivals are more readily integrated into Team Australia.”
CONSTRUCTION COSTS: “The Australian Building and Construction Commission – re-established about a year ago by the Turnbull Government – will help to reign back industrial militancy and price rises there.”
COMMUNICATIONS: “When the [National Broadband Network] is finally concluded on a sensible basis using existing as well as new infrastructure hopefully our communications costs will come down.”