Effects Test

Campaign for effects test gathers steam as small business owners have their say

Cara Waters /

SmartCompany and the Council of Small Business of Australia’ campaign calling on the government to implement the effects test is gaining momentum with a growing number of small business owners signing up.

In less than a day the petition to the government has hit almost 200 signatures.

You can sign SmartCompany and COSBOA’s petition calling on the government to stand up for small business here.

Small business owners and their supporters who signed the petition have called on the government not to abandon small business after promising so much. 

Isaac Smith says small business is Australia’s biggest employer and deserves to be supported.

“Larger businesses get far more from state and federal government, so lets level the playing field!”

Ella Bryan says strong small businesses mean a strong economy.

“We need a thriving small business community to create economic growth,” she says.

“Anti-competitive policies that only support big business will not help our economy.”

Other small business owners say small business is in a crisis situation. 

“Small business is just about dead,” Kevin Barone says.

“We are about to shut down and eight staff will lose their jobs. It’s sad after 26 years”.

Warren Beaumont says he’s signing the petition because he’s worried that in a decade or so there won’t be any main streets or towns left.

“It’s that bad and we’ll end up with Wool-Mart and Coles-Azon running the banks, pharmacies, agriculture and lots more,” he says.

Small business owners signing the petition have been critical of the government appearing to abandon small business by shelving the promised reform to competition law.

“The procrastination or total lack of action by this government over a very important recommendation by the [Harper] review, goes to prove that this government’s ties to big business are inseparable, and they are prepared to accept weak or esoteric arguments by big business to further their own means,” says Frank Willenberg.

Peter Strong, chief executive of COSBOA, says he understands cabinet is under a lot of pressure over the decision to put the effects test on ice.

“I’m hearing it’s a small number of people making the decision,” he says.

Strong called on small business owners to join the campaign

“The people against it are a small number of vested interests”.

Strong says the implementation of an effects test won’t be a “lawyers picnic” saying this is just “scare mongering of the worst kind” by groups including the Business Council of Australia.

“Small business people don’t have money to do that,” he says. 

“The effects test managed by a good regulator will be a good thing, it will hardly be used the important thing is that it is there.”

Strong says reports saying COSBOA will campaign against the government in key marginal seats on the effects test are inaccurate.

“COSBOA wants to work with the government,” he says.

“Both sides of parliament have turned their back on small business after all the rhetoric that we had.”

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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.