Fast Lane: Small business continues to be ignored

Fast Lane: Small business continues to be ignored


Sometimes it feels like nobody wants to know about small business. 

SmartCompany was founded over eight years ago because publishers Amanda Gome and Eric Beecher saw that small business wasn’t being covered by the mainstream business press.

Each day we aim to give a voice to small businesses and the issues they confront.

But the truth is not much has changed since 2007, with the continued focus of the business press on the top end of town.

It’s only occasionally that SMEs get a look in when something momentous happens like the small business package in this year’s budget and Peter Strong’s speech last week to the National Press Club.

Strong used his speech to argue that “business class warfare” is alive and well in 2015.

He identified that for too long nearly all the important decisions for our economy have been made by a small number of people least affected by those decisions.

“The decisions have been made by those who support big government, including representatives from big business and unions as well as a handful of senior public servants,” Strong said.

While there are over 2 million small businesses in Australia, it’s a process which small business has been mainly excluded from. 

Today, Small Business Minister Bruce Billson backed Strong’s claims in an interview withFairfax, describing an industrial relations “club” in which small business doesn’t get a say.

“We know the workplace relations framework is largely developed by the ‘club’ of big business, their advocacy groups and the union movement, yet 96% of the respondents to that framework are small businesses who feel as though the regime has not been designed with their interest in mind,” Billson said.

It’s a framework that doesn’t work for small business, with business owners repeatedly dragged before Fair Work for breaching complex and convoluted industrial relations regulations.

All too often these businesses want to comply with the regulations but find themselves bamboozled by rules designed for businesses with hundreds of staff and whole departments devoted to “human resources”. 

If small business was allowed into the club they’d advocate for a simpler set of pay rates and conditions. 



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