Red tape the top concern

TWO thirds of Western Australian businesses believe government red tape is adversely influencing their business.

A survey by JMG Marketing for WA Business News found that the biggest problem was the amount of time business owners and managers had to devote to compliance.

The survey of small to medium-sized enterprises also found one quarter of businesses lost revenue as a result of red tape.

Survey respondents cited GST, payroll tax and stamp duty as problem areas, as well as liquor licencing, government procurement and tendering and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s compliance requirements.

As well as red tape, another key issue identified by the survey was the current employment laws, particularly unfair dismissal laws, which are seen to reduce flexibility for SMEs.

On the positive side, 36 per cent of the survey respondents said they were doing better than last year with 25 per cent doing as well as last year.

Two thirds were confident of doing well in the future with a high 41 per cent very confident of future success.

The survey contacted 100 SMEs across a wide range of industries from retail to manufacturing, health, real estate, hospitality and information technology. The businesses had up to 300 employees but averaged 20 employees.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said repetitive tasks such as supplying data to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and completing BAS forms were a major concern for SMEs.

He said the SBDC had a number of programs in place to attack red tape.

These included a small business advocacy service specifically to help SMEs in their dealings with government agencies.

The SBDC has also run industry forums for the motor trades and hospitality sectors to identify red tape problems.



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