Politics

Business reacts to the red tape repeal: Here’s what’s missing

Cara Waters /

Business groups have responded positively to the government’s red tape repeal day yesterday, but say further cuts to red tape are needed.

The government’s first biannual repeal day saw 9500 pieces of legislation and regulation repealed.

Council of Small Business of Australia executive director Peter Strong told SmartCompany the idea of a repeal day signalled “cultural change”.

“Because it is twice a year it becomes part of the calendar of events so public servants know to keep an eye on red tape,” he says.

“It is now something that is in the front of people’s minds.”   

Similarly, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry backed the cuts, with ACCI chief operating officer John Osborn warning regulation is “suffocating business”.

“The costs and time involved in complying with red tape is bad for productivity and hurts our competitiveness,” he says.

“We need to let business, particularly small businesses, focus on what they do best – that’s creating jobs.”

But Strong says COSBOA would like to have seen regulations requiring small businesses to administer superannuation included in the red tape repeal. 

“Superannuation should be part of PAYG so small business does not have to deal with it,” he says.

“It would remove the employers out of that system and would save the super funds a lot of money as they wouldn’t have to deal with employers.” 

The Institute of Public Accountants wants an overhaul of fringe benefits tax to be part of the next repeal day.

Tony Greco, senior tax adviser at the IPA, said the government should look to FBT if it wants to make some inroads to its commitment to reducing regulatory red tape.

“FBT has the unenviable title of having the highest compliance cost of any tax. It places a significant compliance burden on small business operators,” Greco said in a statement.

The IPA wants to shift FBT from employers to employees.

“Taxing fringe benefits at the employee level has the potential to deliver greater neutrality in the treatment of cash and non-cash remuneration while reducing the compliance costs for both employers and employees,” he says.  

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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