The rising cost of doing business in Australia has seen it slip further behind in a survey of global competitiveness.

The World Economic Forum's global competitiveness report for 2013/14 sends Australia down one place to a ranking of 21, compared to the previous year.

Australian Industry Group chief economist Innes Willox said while Australia stacked up well in terms of infrastructure and education, there was further slippage in cost competitiveness.

Out of 148 countries, Australia's labour market efficiency ranking fell to 54, from 13.

On flexibility on wage determinations Australia now ranks 135th, down from 123 last year, while on burden of government regulation it stands at 128, down from 96.

Similarly, pay and productivity has fallen to 113 from 80, and the total tax rate ranking dropped to 109 from 106.

"These results highlight the cost of doing business in Australia and the pressing need to improve key areas, including industrial relations, business regulation and company tax in order to lift our international competitiveness," Mr Willox said in a statement on Wednesday.

However, the report also highlights some bright spots for Australia.

The nation was first in both secondary education enrolment rates and legal rights, and second in the number of days it took to start a business.

In the overall rankings, there was no change from last year with Switzerland first, Singapore second and Finland third.

 

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