O’Dwyer talks financial focus

Australia’s new Assistant Treasurer gave the clearest outline yet of her priorities in the crucial role at a Sydney business breakfast last week.

On Thursday, Kelly O’Dwyer, who recently replaced both Josh Frydenberg as Assistant Treasurer and Bruce Billson as Small Business Minister, addressed the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, promising the government’s response to the Financial System Inquiry would be be released “very soon”.

The need to reform Australia’s financial regulations to help business keep up with changing conditions and the importance of fostering small businesses were key topics of discussion.

“As our population and workforce is changing, so too are jobs and the industries and the markets around the globe,” she says.

“Disruptive technology is changing the traditional markets every day. That raises the very real question of whether our economy is agile enough to reap these opportunities as they arise.”

O’Dwyer says Australia says the challenges of change also create opportunity.

“As our economy is disrupted and diversified, the opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups abound,” she says. [Click to Tweet]

“We already have one of the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity in the developed world, but we need to continue to foster our entrepreneurial culture, and reduce regulatory barriers that prevent good ideas growing into commercial successes.

“Australia produces excellent research, but in translating that research into commercial outcomes we lag behind comparable countries.”

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth was in attendance and says O’Dwyer’s strong attention to small business had the potential to have a big impact.

“This is directly relevant for insurance broking, as the great majority of broking firms are medium and small businesses,” he says.