Making the State Competitive for Small Business

Better Business October/November 06

Making the State Competitive for Small Business

For Pollies for Small Business Day earlier this month, I took part in some work experience at Luv A Coffee caf‚ in Lismore and J H Williams rural store in Murwillumbah.

As a former business owner, I certainly appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with local small business owners and get a better understanding of the current issues they face each day in their businesses, particularly in regard to the amount of red tape caused by decisions of government.

It is apparent from talking to many small business owners in the area that business conditions in NSW are not what they should be. Compared to Queensland, NSW's economic growth is stagnant and capital expenditure per capita is the lowest of any mainland State. Unemployment in NSW at 5.1 per cent is still higher than any other State except Tasmania.

Given the overriding health of the national economy, NSW should be doing much better. Business owners tell me the differential with payroll tax from Queensland, business red tape and a lack of apprentices are all key challenges facing their businesses.

The NSW Nationals/Liberal Coalition recently announced a six point plan for assisting small business. Most importantly, the plan eliminates payroll tax for more than 4,500 NSW businesses by raising the tax-free threshold on payrolls from Labor's $600,000 to $850,000. This means at least 4,500 businesses no longer have maintain systems and processes used to assess and pay payroll tax.

Additionally the six-point plan exempts employers from paying the cost of Workcover premiums for apprenticeships. The current regulatory burdens and costs associated with employing apprentices are a deterrent to taking on these young people and giving them skills. Whilst the apprentice will remain covered by Workcover, employers will be exempt from premiums. This scheme is similar to one already operating in Victoria.

Other measures in the plan include; introducing a `One-on, One-off' approach to Government regulation, cutting the cost of regulation by 5 per cent each year over four years, linking Agency CEO's remuneration to reducing regulation and red tape and making the Minister directly responsible for reducing regulation and red tape.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577