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Debate hold up taxes patience

WA’S small business seem to have become disenchanted with the proposed GST – or at least with the way its implementation is moving.

The Federal Government and the Australian Democrats are locked in discussions that could decide the fate of the government’s tax package.

All the while the government is mindful of the 30 June deadline for the package’s introduction.

Combined Small Business Associations of WA president Oliver Moon said small businesses were dissatisfied with the way the debate was going.

“Because of the chain of events, until we know what is finalised it leaves us in limbo,” Mr Moon said.

“Small businesses are always at the end of the food chain. It would seem our considerations always come last.”

Mr Moon said his organisation’s national affiliate, the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, had made its pitch to both the government and the Democrats.

In it, COSBOA chief executive Rob Bastian called for the government to pay for the costs small businesses will incur to act as tax collectors and to balance the effective tax levels of large and small businesses.

The latest Yellow Pages Small Business Index found 67 per cent of small businesses now perceived no benefit from a GST.

But the WA Chamber of Com-merce and Industry remain supporters of a GST because it will replace the current damaging array of business taxes.

WACCI chief economist Nicky Cusworth said Australian businesses had a disproportionate compliance burden compared with many other countries.

“Including states in tax reform is important because the states’ own taxes are in need of reform,” Ms Cusworth said.

Federal Finance Minister and former New South Wales premier John Fahey said the GST had the ability to remove the ‘inefficient’ Premiers’ conference system.

“State projects depend on what proportion of the state tax dollars come back,” Mr Fahey said.

“State and Commonwealth relations will be on a more even keel with the new tax package,” he said.

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