Kieran Salsone

Industry survey highlights tax and spending concerns

TAX, infrastructure investment and getting the federal budget back in the black in five years' time were the top three concerns highlighted in an industry survey released on Monday.

The Australian Industry Group survey of more than 360 businesses showed 70% of respondents said cutting company taxes was their top priority.

The survey comes as Treasurer Joe Hockey prepares to ensure all sectors of Australian society do the "heavy lifting" for his first budget, due in two weeks.

Survey respondents also urged government to spend more on infrastructure, at 68% of respondents, and bring the Commonwealth's books back to surplus in five years, at 57%.

AIG chief executive Innes Willox said the survey showed the government needed to by a "strong emphasis" on creating the right conditions for businesses to invest and lift productivity.

"And secondly, while business is clearly backing the need to consolidate the budgetary position, the clear preference is for this to be done in a measured way over a number of years rather than risking damage to the still-fragile economy by cutting too fast or too hard or by saddling business with counterproductive tax increases," he said.

"Perhaps the biggest challenge for the government is that the budget cannot be one-dimensional.

"The fiscal situation and particularly the longer-term fiscal outlook require far-sighted action to restore the strength of Australia's public finances. But the budget must also foster growth."