Abbott urged to go slow on reforms


Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott should not be aiming for a long list of accomplishments in his first 100 days of power - he should instead use this period to set out his reform agenda timetable.

That's the view of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia in a report on Thursday of what it believes should be the priorities of a coalition government in its first 100 days.

The institute's chief executive Lee White believes economic success would be increased if the government takes the time to set up robust policy-making processes from the outset.

"Setting up good processes isn't glamorous," he said in a statement.

"It won't deliver an overnight win but it's important work and if they get it right it will pay huge dividends throughout their time in office."

However, the report urges that the fixation on a set timetable to return the budget to surplus must change because it inflicts further stress on sectors that are already doing it tough, which could result in a worse economic outcome.

It says the new government must provide a budget update or mid-year economic and fiscal outlook within the 100 days, given some of the big ticket items it intends to roll out, such as Mr Abbott's paid parental leave scheme.

The institute believes the government has a big opportunity to kick-start the tax reform agenda, but warns Australia will be taking a step backwards if the carbon price is repealed.

"Driving businesses to become more carbon efficient is critical for our future," it says.

It says repealing the carbon price 18 months or more after it has been implemented will have a significant impact on business.

"While a transition `back in time' might sound simple enough in theory, in reality, there will be a broad range of potentially significant consequences that government and business haven't yet fully considered, such as the potential impact on financial reporting and profit results."

It also says some concessions linked to the mining tax should be kept, even if the tax itself is scrapped.

"We are not looking for a long list of accomplishments at the end of the first 100 days. Quite the reverse," Mr White says.

"We want the new government to set out its agenda, engage in consultation and work through a structured deliberative process of decision making before embarking on reforms."