Stanton takes on big boys

FIGHTING the big retailers’ market dominance will be one of the challenges facing WA small business owner Bob Stanton over the next two years.

Mr Stanton, 47, has been appointed to the board of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) to represent WA small business.

He has operated the Myaree Minimart for the past 13 years and is also chairman of the WA Independent Retailers Organisation and founding chairman of the Tobacco Retailers Association.

Representing 22 industry bodies and 200,000 small businesses around Australia, COSBOA was established in 1979 to promote the interests of small businesses at a federal level.

“I hope to bring a bit of youth to the board of directors,” Mr Stanton said.

“Being at the coal face I can actually bring issues to the table which are directly affecting retail outlets.”

Mr Stanton said the difference between Chamber of Commerce and Industry and COSBOA was its focus on small business.

“CCI tends to represent organisations right from multinationals down and we are actually from micro-business up,” Mr Stanton said.

“We are not representative of the big end of town at all.”

The main issues over the next two years will be bedding down the GST and attacking chain-store dominance. Mr Stanton said he hoped the Government would take on board the recommendations of a report into the dominance of the major supermarkets.

“Another issue we are pushing hard for is payment for the collection of taxes. Small business has been placed into a position were it is doing the tax office’s work,” he said.

Mr Stanton said he believed the chances of getting any concession from the Govern-ment were remote but the politicians were listening.

“The Government has horribly, horribly underestimated the cost of appliance to small business and the $200 (the initial rebate to help businesses in the GST implementation) has just about been a slap in the face,” Mr Stanton said.

“It is a nightmare – there is no other way to describe it. If the Democrats hadn’t stuck their nose into it in the first place and we just had a GST on every single item – goods or service – it would be far easier to handle than it is now.”

He said COSBOA would also continue to fight the push to free up trading hours. More than 840 Victorian businesses closed down after deregulated hours were introduced.

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