Advocacy pledge honoured

WHILE the WA Government has come under fire for breaking its election promise to not raise business taxes, it has kept a promise it made to small business.

The Government’s 2001-02 budget included an extra $500,000 over the next four years for the Small Business Development Corporation to expand its advocacy services.

The SBDC already runs advocacy services for business and will be expanding its programs with a special focus on commercial tenancy.

SBDC managing director George Etrelezis said the agency also would be giving special attention to mediation processes.

“National competition policy and commercial tenancy are still big issues for small business,” Mr Etrelezis said.

While the relationship between Government and small business has often been cool, members of the small business community are feeling more optimistic.

All Government Ministers are required to brief their colleagues on how any item Cabinet is discussing will effect small business, a practise begun by the previous Government.

A spokesman for Premier Geoff Gallop said the Government had made a decision to factor in how any of its decisions would impact on small business.

Small Business Alliance spokeswoman Cheryl Thompson said her recent meeting with Small Business Minister Clive Brown had been positive.

“A lot can be achieved if small business and the Government work together,” Ms Thompson said. “We are certainly prepared to sit down and talk to them.”

Ms Thompson said the Government’s move to consider how their decisions would impact small business was certainly a positive step.

WA Retailers Association CEO Martin Dempsey said the Government’s advocacy move was a step in the right direction, but a better way needed to be found.

“Everyone has rights. But to prove those rights comes down to having the money for the legal expenses,” he said.

“In some case the legal remedies for things such as unconscionable conduct in the commercial tenancy arena can be tens of thousands of dollars out of reach for small businesses.”

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