Opposition questions new Government USB resource kit for SMEs

The Federal Government has launched a Small Business Resource Kit for small business owners, but the Opposition says the measure fails to address the issues plaguing the sector.


The kit, contained on a USB flash drive, identifies common problems for Australian entrepreneurs and acts as a guide for government grants and financial assistance.


It also contains templates for business, marketing and succession plans, content for independent contractors, and information on tax and superannuation.


Launching the kit yesterday, Small Business Minister Nick Sherry says it represents a new way for small business operators to access vital information for their business.


“The new Small Business Resource Kit we’re launching today is a substantial, well-designed addition to our other initiatives that’s just right for this age, when the computer is the universal tool of business,” Sherry said.


“Small business owners… don’t necessarily have the time to trawl around for the right information. Having essential tips and guides on a USB drive, that can be plugged into a computer at any time, is extremely convenient,” Sherry said.


“This kit gives small business operators instant access to resources in a variety of formats, including video files, audio recordings, as well as traditional handbooks.”


A spokesperson for the Minister says the kit did not receive funding under the Federal budget, but is being funded by “general revenue” within the Department of Innovation.


Shadow minister for small business Bruce Billson says while the kit is well intended and should not be discounted, it fails to address the issues plaguing small businesses.


“The USB stick may have some useful insights and may hold some value, but the stick that people are more concerned about is the one they’re being hit with in the form of red tape, access to finance, etc.” Billson says.


“It reflects a disconnect between the Government and the small business community… Most would like to see that effort and energy put into those [other] things.”


“It seems strange that it’s just popped up now – it seems like a belated reaction to a budget that was a small business disappointment.”


In the lead-up to last week’s Federal budget, Billson slammed the Government for scrapping the Entrepreneurs’ Tax Offset in favour of an across-the-board deduction of $5,000 for purchasing new cars.


“The Gillard Labor Government simply hates small business,” Billson said in a statement.


“Australia’s economy desperately needs more of the innovation, enterprise and courage of small businesspeople and the self-employed to turn around the 300,000 jobs lost in the sector since the election of the Rudd/Gillard Government.”


“Instead, the Government is hell-bent on undermining enterprising, aspirational and self-starting people at every opportunity in favour of increasingly regulated, union-controlled big business workplaces.”


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