The Australian Small Business Blog

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Red tape a major concern for small business

As a small business owner myself, I can whole-heartedly relate to the pressures and burdens of running a small Australian enterprise. As a business journalist I speak with small business proprietors and managers on a daily basis.

There is clearly a consistent theme of concern vibrating across the country. Not only are we juggling our business commitments as the marketer, bookkeeper, administrator and customer service officer (this list could go on forever), but we’re also dealing with endless rolls of red tape - and we’re sick of it.

Fran Bailey, Minister for Small Business & Tourism, recently said, “The red tape anchor drags many small businesses down. What we want to do is slash that anchor and free up small businesses from the day-to-day drudgery of government forms and red tape.”

It appears the Federal Government is certainly listening and red tape is finally on Bailey’s priority list.

However it seems small business owners don’t necessarily agree, according to the June Poll conducted by

We asked the question: “is the Federal Government doing enough to reduce the red tape for small business?”

At final count 14% agreed Howard’s Government was successfully slashing the red tape anchor, 12% weren’t sure and a staggering 74% of voters from across the nation believe there is a lot more that could be done.

One area of serious frustration is reporting to the ATO. Since GST came into effect we’re not only playing the added role of collection agency for the Government, but we’re doing all their paperwork as well.

In my opinion, GST has had a positive impact on our economy, but it has most definitely increased red tap – ten fold.

Following Costello’s announcement of the 2006 budget, you’ll note some much welcomed changes by the small business community.

When it comes to incorporating a company, the cost has been halved to $400 from $800. The minor fringe benefits exemption threshold has been increased from $100 to $300, taking effect from 1st April 2007.

A further $29.6 million is being invested into to enable Government forms to be electronically lodged and verified - although it could be 2009 before we see the fruits of this labour.

Jake Challenor is the Managing Editor of I’m Boss TV, Australia’s first online television channel and magazine all about small business.

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