May 14, 2013

Opportunities for Small Business in the 2013 Federal Budget

The Council for Small Business Australia’s CEO, Peter Strong, talks to Business View, about the key areas they’d like to see addressed in tonight’s 2013 Federal Budget announcement and how those areas could help the broader Australian economy.

As the Executive Director of The Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA), I have the pleasure of overseeing a peak industry body advocating for more than two million small business people and 4.8 million Australians employed by small businesses around the nation.

I believe the key issues for small businesses leading into the 2013 Federal Budget are contract law, competition policy and red tape.

The 2013 Federal Budget provides an opportunity for the Government to recognise the critical role that small businesses play in the future of our economy and to encourage growth in the small business sector by:

  • improving policy fairness
  • supporting growth
  • reducing process complexity.

Policy fairness

Contract law and competition policy continue to be two key issues for COSBOA and the businesses we represent.

Removing taxes related to these areas as part of this year’s budget could ease the pressure on small businesses who pay more for rates, insurance, fire levies and so on.

Supporting growth

Fostering and encouraging growth in small business can deliver positive outcomes across our entire economy.

Key areas to address growth that we’d like to see in the 2013 Federal Budget include:

  • Asia: Big businesses are already tapping into the opportunities presented in this region, but more support is needed for small businesses to expand into Asia.
  • Tax: The burden of external factors such as the global economy, low consumer confidence and the increasing cost of business could be eased by increasing the instant tax write off and extending the eligibility to include many more small businesses.
  • Small business training programs: Investing in training and acknowledging the need to develop the future generation of business owners could help address Australia’s unemployment rate more broadly.
  • National Broadband Network (NBN): In order to deliver the expected business growth and productivity gains the NBN presents, small businesses need assistance for the roll-out phase.

Less complexity

Complexity is getting in the way of productivity for small businesses and whilst the changes we suggest relate to core policies, and not necessarily to the coming budget announcement, they’re worth noting.

Removing small businesses from policies intended for big business – for example the superannuation collection process and pay clerk role in parental leave process – would significantly reduce the time, resources and financial costs borne by small businesses in complying with these policies.

Introducing an industrial award for small business, a move supported by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, would also go a long way to reducing complexity and easing the costs of running a small business.

Fairness, support for those that want to grow and less complexity for over two million people is critical to ensure the economic future of this country. COSBOA and the people we represent look forward to seeing the 2013 Federal Budget and the changes it will bring for small businesses.

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