The Business Council of Australia (BCA) is an industry association that comprises the chief executives of more than 100 of Australia's biggest corporations. It was formed in 1983 by the merger of the Business Roundtable – a spin-off of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – and the Australian Industry Development Association. The organisation is headquartered in Melbourne with offices in Sydney and Canberra.
Its stated reason for existence is to give the business community a greater voice in public policy debates about the direction of Australian society.
BCA members determine the work program and policy positions through their participation in policy committees, task forces and the BCA Board.
The BCA Board oversees the work of the BCA Secretariat, committees and task forces, makes recommendations on issues concerning membership and committee and task force appointments, identifies and clarifies policy issues, and proposes the BCA policy agenda.
Business Council of Australia Board members, as of April 2017, were:
The secretariat includes policy directors, working together with the policy and research team, the communications team and the administrative support team.
The reform agenda of the BCA advocates the privatisation and commodification of water rights. While it backed the Labor Government's original emissions trading scheme proposed under Kevin Rudd's leadership and negotiated with the Coalition, it opposes the scheme agreed between Julia Gillard's Labor Government, Greens and Independents. The BCA has advocated higher pay for outstanding teachers.
In June 2009, it called for taxes to be increased on consumer goods but halved for corporations. The council made the call in a submission, entitled Unrealised Gains, to the Henry Tax Review. It said the Goods and Services Tax should be increased from its current rate of 10 per cent; while corporate tax should be cut to 15 per cent, from its current rate of 30 per cent.
The BCA Supports the lowering of Penalty rates.
As of 2012[update], membership of the BCA totals 121 companies , and includes Australia's mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, as well as the 4 major banks – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac – and most of Australia's largest manufacturers and business services firms.
Geoff Allen, "Business Council of Australia;Its Origins and Early Years" in M Sheehan &P Sekeles, The Influence Seekers;Political Lobbying in Australia,Australian Scholarly Press,2012
'The Business Council of Australia' in Peter Sheldon and Louise Thornthwaite (Eds), Employer Associations and Industrial Relations Change. Allen & Unwin 1999