Coalition policy offers little

SMALL business is feeling particularly unappreciated following the launch of the Coalition’s Small Business Policy.

The policy appeared with very little fanfare and small business groups believe they can understand why. Beyond a $2.25 million boost to the Government’s Business Enterprise Centres, the groups say there is little in it for small business.

Documents accompanying the Coalition’s policy dwell on its achievements for small business.

The Coalition says it will be providing direct support to “enhance the capacity of small business to be innovative and flexible, pursue new business ideas and adapt to an environment of rapid change”.

It promises to reduce the compliance and administration costs in the licensing process and help businesses identify their training needs.

The Coalition is also committing to creating greater opportunities for small business in WA, continuing to support the Small Business Development Corporation as the sector’s champion and ensuring the interests of small business are considered by key decision makers.

But Combined Small Business Associations of WA president Oliver Moon said small business was usually ignored by key decision makers.

He said the policy did little but trot out the usual platitudes about small businesses’ place in the WA economy.

“It’s nice to know we’re still the cornerstone of the State’s economy but beyond that the policy doesn’t tell us much,” Mr Moon said.

“The $2.25 million out of the Department of Commerce and Trade’s massive budget is pathetic.

“The Coalition touts itself as a champion of business. It’s more like a parent giving a noisy child a lolly and telling it to go and sit in the corner and be quiet. Labor and the Coalition’s policies are on a par. They offer very little to small business.

“The $2.25 million increase for the BECs is most welcome but it will be interesting to see how much the BECs get after the bureaucrats take their slice.

“The policy is very deftly worded. It says the focus is on training but what does that mean?

“Will the Department of Training be given a share of the $2.25 million.”

Mr Moon said the Coalition’s promise to extend the Small Claims Tribunal was a step in the right direction.

“I notice the words unconscionable conduct are missing from that promise though,” he said.

“The policy also draws on recommendations from the Procurement Council to increase the target for Government’s locally procured goods and services from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.”

The Coalition also promises to make all Government contracts worth $10,000 public, a drop from the $20,000 requirement.

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