COSBOA says slashing red tape must be a key focus for new business advisory forum

The Council of Small Business of Australia says it will highlight the time and money it takes for small business to deal with red tape and regulation when it participates in a high-powered business forum set to meet next month.

The Federal Government yesterday announced the formation of a COAG Business Advisory Forum, comprising about 25 organisations and corporates who will advise state and federal levels of government on ways to boost productivity through regulatory reform.

“Red tape and regulation is very different for small business than large business,” COSBOA executive director Peter Strong says.

“Big business can afford lawyers, paymasters, OH&S experts and tax experts, but small business does it all themselves.”

Forum members will include COBSOA, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman says he will be pushing for changes to the following:

  • leasing laws;
  • payroll tax;
  • workers compensation;
  • the administration of national Australian Consumer Law across the states and territories; and
  • trading hours across Australia.

Chaired by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the forum will meet next month, just before the Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Gillard says the Government wants business “at the drawing board” discussing “what would make them more productive and what regulation challenges they face.”

BCA president Tony Shepherd says a major priority will be to nationalise trade licensing laws to allow workers to carry accreditation from state to state without undertaking another test.

“We must complete trade licensing recognition which will make it easier for workers to move to where the jobs are,” Shepherd says. 

“Unfinished competition reforms on energy markets and transport infrastructure regulation are also vital productivity boosters.” 

ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson says the forum could “add significantly to the social infrastructure in Australia in the form of dialogue between our private and public sectors on matters of national economic regulation and that is a good thing.”

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