Business programs on the budget chopping block?

Former Coalition small business minister Fran Bailey says she fears two programs designed to ease the business red tape burden could be on the budget chopping block.

Bailey says the VANguard program, to facilitate online business with government agencies and implement a single portal for ABN registration across all government agencies, could be vulnerable.

“They have a question mark about them because they weren’t completely rolled out, and they are the sort of thing, no matter how good they are, that a razor gang would be attracted to,” Bailey says.

Bailey is stuck in parliamentary limbo waiting for a High Court case to confirm once and for all whether she won her seat of McEwen in Victoria’s east, but she remains keenly interested in small business matters.

Although dedicated business programs comprise a relatively small slice of the federal budget, the Rudd Government’s drive to increase fiscal discipline means very few programs can be considered safe.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research said no information would be available on the fate of government programs in advance of the federal budget to be delivered in early May.

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