Turnbull calls snap summit, small business still waiting for invite

Turnbull calls snap summit, small business still waiting for invite


The Prime Minister has called a snap summit of business, community and union leaders in Canberra on Thursday.

The summit will carry on from where the recent National Reform Summit left off with a major focus on tax reform.

Fairfax reports Malcolm Turnbull has invited Dave Oliver, secretary of the ACTU, Cassandra Goldie chief executive of the Australian Council for Social Services, Ian Yates, chief executive of Council on the Ageing and Leo Fieldgrass, national director of Australian Youth Affairs.

From business groups the attendees are Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

However at this stage the Council of Small Business of Australia has not been invited.

Peter Strong, executive director of COSBOA, told SmartCompany he hopes small business does get a hearing at the summit after concerns that SMEs were ignored at the National Reform summit.

“I expect that they will ask us,” he says.

“If they don’t I would scratch my head.”

Strong says he wants to see the Prime Minister’s summit look at local economic development to power smaller economies around Australia. 

“Let’s get truly into taxation,” Strong says.

“Workplace relations was off the agenda at the National Reform Summit, that has to be back on the agenda.”

Strong says while groups including ACCI have been invited it is important for COSBOA to also attend. 

“We need small business to have an unambiguous voice, some of those groups claim to represent small business but they also have big business in their membership,” he says.

However, Carnell says for ACCI “small business issues are front and centre”.

“Issues such as section 46 [the effects test] are very important but in this particular group there is little chance of getting a consensus position taking into account the Business Council of Australia [which opposes the test] is there as well” she says.

“Things that matter to small business are tax reform, getting the economy moving and having sustainable retirement income, those things matter to small business as much as anybody.”

Carnell says despite the change in prime minister she hopes the summit doesn’t “start from scratch” and it would be sensible to use the agreed document from the National Reform Summit and look at what can be implemented.   

“I hope that what we will use as a base is the summit outcomes and look at how we can take those forward,” she says.

“I don’t think we need to have the discussion all over again.”

But Carnell says with Turnbull at the helm there’s “no doubt” there will be a different focus.

“We’ve already seen with the new prime minister we have things like penalty rates on the agenda and they were previously off the agenda,” she says.

“There’s a very real focus on innovation and nimbleness to use the Prime Minister’s words.”   


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