There are six days to go before the election. But where is the overall vision, strategy and policies for entrepreneurs and small businesses from the ALP and the Coalition?
We fear there will be none. While both parties have long lists of policies on their websites and plenty of handouts, there is no overall vision from either party.
We know because we have kept asking.
Several weeks ago SmartCompany asked the Federal Small Business Minister Fran Bailey and her Labor counterpart Craig Emerson to answer questions about their vision, policies and what, if elected, they would do for you.
Both parties’ spokesmen agreed to take part. Last Monday the answers were due. Last Monday came and went. No policies to be seen.
The ALP eventually admitted the answers weren’t ready, but promised the answers and an ALP small business policy by Monday. That is today. The ALP media spokesman is now telling SmartCompany that there may – or may not – be ALP small business policies. Is the ALP now so confident of winning that it is not bothering to tell entrepreneurs and small business where it stands?
The Coalition is equally tardy. The Coalition is blaming its internal bureaucracy for not providing its responses to our questions. It says answers may be forthcoming – after they have been approved by campaign headquarters – but will not say when. We are fast coming to the conclusion that both Labor and the Coaltion are stalling because they have no policy or strategy for you.
Other countries have visions for the high growth companies in their economy. Countries like Britain have developed a set of polices that directly address setting up an entrepreneurial culture. The British entrepreneurial policy develops better regulation policy, encourages start-ups, builds in capabilities that assist businesses to grow, improves access to finance, improves small business experience of government services, encourages more enterprise in disadvantaged areas and so on.
Why have an entrepreneurship strategy or plan? It is to highlight the significance of entrepreneurship. It gives it substance, underpins it with resources and then is able to measure the results. It also encourages buy-in from other political parties and builds profile with media.
And it assists you, the hard working business owners of Australia, to see a way forward and get assistance and encouragement when needed to grow, create jobs and innovate.
But apart from ad-hoc initiatives, the policies from both parties are nowhere to be seen.