National Press Club in Canberra
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry today rolled out the next phase of its "Small business too big to ignore" campaign. "The BIG 4 You Can't Ignore" was launched by ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson at the National Press Club in Canberra. The BIG4 campaign calls on the government and Coalition to cut red tape, simplify the tax system, make it easier to employ people and build better infrastructure. Anderson said government regulation is extremely damaging to small businesses and they were at a tipping point. "Our tax and finance systems are impossible for the average small business person to understand and comply with," he said in a statement. Richard Clancy, executive director of the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told SmartCompany the campaign articulates what small businesses are saying and allows others join the conversation. "What it does is highlight what small businesses are saying. One of the things that has become obvious is that a lot of small businesses are overworked and they often feel that their issues and concerns aren't being heard," he says. The online campaign advertisements feature real business owners discussing the hardship and concerns the current system presents small businesses. Many of the people complain about penalty rates and how these high rates stop them from being able to open their businesses at peak periods, such as nights and public holidays. Anderson said telling the stories of real people, rather than using actors and models, was integral to the campaign and its mission. "It's a message not built on actors, not set by scripts, but carved out by the authenticity and rawness of real small business people and their stories," he said. The campaign's latest move is an attempt to garner support and attention for the plight of small businesses from the Coalition and the government in the lead up to September's election. Anderson previously told SmartCompany the campaign is giving small businesses the opportunity to have their voices heard in unison. "Small business plays a big part in what's happening...and we want to make sure small business has a voice across the country. That's what the campaign is about – making sure small business is heard in this election campaign." Anderson says getting noticed before the election is not the sole aim of the campaign. "I say to the politicians of all political persuasions, something real is happening in the political landscape, starting in our suburb and towns, and it will go beyond 14th September," he said. The campaign has already attracted public support with 22,121 people signing a petition. Small business owners, employers and those who are concerned about the plight of small businesses in Australia can "add their voice" to the campaign online. This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
A Coalition government will commit Commonwealth departments and agencies to pay small business suppliers on time or face paying interest on outstanding bills, Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says. “Under the Coalition, all small businesses that provide services to the Commonwealth will get the benefit of a ‘pay on time or pay interest’ approach- formal contracts or not,” Hockey said in a post-budget speech to the National Press Club in Canberra. He says that if a bill isn’t paid within 30 days, interest will be applied at the same rate the Australian Taxation Office expects people to pay for late tax payments, currently 9.95%. “Small businesses work hard for their money and should not be bankrolling government,” he said. Hockey attacked the Labor government’s budget handed down last week, which revealed a $19.4 billion deficit, claiming it lacks integrity, pledging the Coalition would build a strong economy. Pointing out he came from a family of small business people, including cousin Gus whose menswear business in Sydney had recently gone broke, Hockey says enterprise is the backbone of the Australian economy. He says government should support business and reiterated that small business would be a cabinet portfolio within the Treasury department if the Coalition wins the federal election on September 14. The Coalition’s objective is to reduce the overall tax burden on businesses and taxpayers “over time”, he said. Hockey says the Coalition would also seek to create a more “cooperative” relationship between taxpayers and the Australian Taxation Office by appointing people with business experience to senior posts, reducing the complexity of tax laws while increasing their certainty, and establish a standing Parliamentary Committee to oversee tax administration. Expressing reservations about the ATO administering and policing Australia’s tax system, Hockey says the Coalition would be prepared to break up the tax office and separate its policing and administration functions if the oversight committee believed it was necessary. Australian Tax Office staff numbers were boosted by 508 in the federal budget as the government announced a crackdown on trusts and closing corporate tax loopholes. Tax and small business experts had expressed concerns the crackdown could extend to small businesses.
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