John Durie: Small business wants action on labour shortages and high bank fees, but the government has done nothing but talk

john durie small business

The immortal words of US advisor James Carville 30 years ago hold true today: “It’s the economy, stupid.” But for business, the added twist is the need for actual decisions, not just talk.

Whether this election will deliver that remains to be seen.

The spectre of a raft of independents being elected will on the one hand make governing more difficult, but given most are centred on a couple of issues, starting with the environment, the challenges are not so great.

They may also provide welcome focus for the eventual government.

Small business wants decisions on labour shortages and industrial relations, along with action on least cost routing.

The latter offers small business the chance for lower bank fees on retail transactions and has bi-partisan support, but the government comes to the election having supported it in principle last September but having done nothing about it.

The reality is this is just one reform on a long list to have received moral support with zero follow through, and it explains why the country has stalled productivity progress — because the government has failed to do the necessary work.

COVID-19 was a massive diversion, but, in at least the early stages, it did offer the promise of a reform agenda agreed to by the states and Canberra.

It all came to nought.    

Small business people can make up their own minds on which of the parties are just talk, because in the policy-free 2022 election, the glaringly obvious need is for one side or the other to actually make decisions and act on them.

That’s what the economy needs and small business in particular, because the big end of town can simply proceed on its own.

A government that can make decisions to prepare a sustainable economic recovery is surely not beyond hope and reality.


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