Get your hands on the budget shovel

We need the triple T standard (truth, trust and transparency) to ensure business opportunities from the budget are not a closed club for the big guys. COLIN BENJAMIN

Colin Benjamin

By Colin Benjamin

The federal budget represents a huge opportunity for the domestic small and medium business market. The $41 billion that will be shovelled into funds in health, education and infrastructure present a great opportunity to SMEs to get their hands on the shovel.

As exports get more expensive with a higher dollar (except for commodities) there is a big opportunity for import replacement and for SMEs to grow their share of the domestic business.

Companies need to gear up for this spending or get together as consortiums to tender.

The Federal Government on its part needs to have a bias towards those companies under $100 million and ensure that 25% of the money goes to small and medium businesses.

This happens in other countries – why not Australia?

But most importantly we need the triple T standard (truth, trust and transparency) to surround the funds so there is an openness about the opportunities and it is not a closed club for the big guys.

For example, we still need to know what is the true situation with the financial position as hedge funds around the world slowly admit their exposure.

There can be no doubt that the ANZ has been less than open about the crises that it is going through and has been left behind in scale and scope against the other big three banks.

Today we learn in The Age that the ANZ has been accused of misleading Opes Prime investors by failing to fulfil its legal obligation to disclose ownership of shares before the controversial stock lender collapsed.

At the same time it might be appropriate to ask the regulators to explain what is happening at the NAB and Westpac with respect to the sweetheart takeover of St George. Given that there were significant share price movements as a result of the fast announcement of acceptance – of course subject to a later NAB potential bid– what action have the regulators taken to check who has made money on these deals before they were done.

And what have the regulators (and the punters) been told about the late night talks between Qantas’s advisers and the Airlines Partner’s Australia consortium?

The next few months will see a rash of takeover deals as companies bulk up to get a handle on the shovel of money that will be available for infrastructure projects, hospital and health programs and education promises delivered in the Swan budget.

Surely it is time to match the taxation review with a genuine review of CSR and corporate governance measures to introduce a real triple-T standard that might stop the big boys (and some girls) insider deals clubs. And to make sure that small and medium business doe not miss out.


Dr Colin Benjamin is Entrepreneurship and Strategic Thinking Consultant at Marshall Place Associates, which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Contact: CEO Dr Jane Shelton.

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