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Wait for Labor GST promise

SMALL businesses will have to wait and see what, if any, compensation measures the Labor Party is going to offer them.

The Labor Party renewed its promise to compensate small busi-ness for the administrative burden the Federal Government has placed on it.

However, Labor small business spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said any revenue-affecting GST rollback measures, such as small business compensation, will not be announced until after the Federal budget is announced in August – at the earliest. Small businesses could have to wait until 10 days into the election campaign – when the Government has to produce the state of Australia’s books – for an answer.

Labor is yet to reveal any information on how it will rollback the GST.

Mr Fitzgibbon said the Oppos-ition had a Business Activity Statement committee touring Australia looking for ways to simplify the forms.

“After our BAS committee has finished we may be able to make some non-cost rollback announcements,” he said.

“Rollback does not mean more changes that make it more difficult for small businesses. It doesn’t mean exempting products. We’re talking about rolling back the impact of the GST.

“We have to see what cookies are left in the jar before we can announce rollback measures that could affect revenue. The way the Government is backflipping at the moment, there won’t be too many cookies left.”

Council of Small Business Associations chief executive Rob Bastian said whichever party got the reduction of compliance costs right would win the next election.

“Given the complexity of compliance small businesses face, we’re urging both parties to get their small business policies out early,” Mr Bastian said.

“No-one can determine the benefit or costs of rollback until the detail is released.

“If Labour can roll back the complexity and extra compliance costs the GST has brought, it will win favour with small business. If its rollback policy just degenerates to the removal of GST from a wider range of goods, I fear it will greatly increase the complexity small businesses face.”

Federal Small Business Minister Ian Macfarlane believes Labor’s policy will cost small businesses time, money and effort.

“Labor’s staggered policy of granting GST exemptions to a range of goods and services will ensure that small businesses have to readjust their systems to meet any new GST obligations,” Mr Macfarlane said.

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