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The most important cabinet announcement you missed yesterday is about small business

Patrick Stafford /

While Tony Abbott and his cabinet were sworn in yesterday, the biggest announcement of the day for small businesses didn’t actually have anything to do with ministers and appointments – but something else entirely.

Yesterday, the new government announced the small business department has now been integrated with Treasury.

This may not seem like a huge change. But for businesses, it’s likely to result in changes being made with small businesses in mind. Proponents say whenever a new tax change is made, or a discussion about red tape is being held, small business has a seat at the table.

Council of Small Business of Australia chief executive Peter Strong told SmartCompany he’s hopeful this change will actually result in some differences in the way small business are treated by government.

“There’s a much better chance they’ll think about us now,” he says.

“The other reason we’re likely to see change is Bruce Billson. He gets it, he understands it, and the fact he’s in the small business portfolio and sitting around the cabinet table is a good thing.”

Bruce Billson was sworn in yesterday as the nation’s Small Business Minster. His appointment has been welcomed by advocacy groups as a win for SMEs, given his experience in running a business of his own.

Small business has actually been split in two. While the development of programs will be moved to Treasury, the actual rollout will stay with the Department of Innovation. Strong says the move is a good one.

“Treasury is not necessarily noted for developing programs,” he says.

“The big win here is that Treasury and Finance are the big agencies. Now, we’re under the spotlight, so that has to be a good thing.”

Paul Drum, head of policy at CPA Australia, told SmartCompany the group believes the move is a good thing.

“It’s not a silver bullet, because there are problems and nothing is a single solution. But this is consistent with our support for Bruce Billson as Small Business Minister.”

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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