Coalition clashes with government over SME red tape burden

Shadow small business minister Bruce Billson has claimed that Labor has “no clue” how to reduce the burden of red tape, in the Coalition’s latest savaging of the Government’s treatment of small businesses.


Billson accused the Government of “policy theft” for the second time in a week after Labor revealed the Productivity Commission will undertake a study on the burden of regulation on small businesses.


The attack comes days after Billson accused the Government of ripping off its idea by floating proposals for a small business “advocate” who will help settle disputes before they get to court.


“From this announcement it is evident the Gillard Government is out of ideas and has no clue how to cut the regulatory burden on our businesses,” says Billson.


“While the Coalition provides a guarantee to provide regulatory relief to businesses by at least $1 billion every year if elected, Labor in its usual way commissions a study into what it might do, without providing any concrete commitment that it will actually in fact do anything.”


“After more than three years of Labor, small business is drowning in red tape and struggling.”


Billson claims that 12,000 regulations have been introduced since the last Federal election, with just 58 repealed, making Labor’s “one in one out” red tape policy a “stunning failure.”


However, Nick Sherry, the Federal small business minister, hit back at Billson, saying that the Coalition had a record of “broken promises” when it came to small business red tape.


“The Howard Government couldn’t be trusted to deliver on its promises and neither can the Abbott Opposition,” Sherry said in a statement to StartupSmart.


“Small business remembers the promise made by the Howard Government to cut red tape by 50% in its first term. Instead the Coalition slugged small business with one of the biggest red tape imposts in history – the GST.


“Their numbers seem to be plucked from thin air, just like their election policy costings before the 2010 election with their gaping $10.6 billion black hole. They have proven they can’t do the maths when it comes to regulations or policy costings.”


“Any promises by the Opposition to tackle red tape amount to nothing more than a few empty words hastily put together and included in the Leader of the Opposition’s budget reply speech.”


The new Productivity Commission study replaces the fifth annual review of regulatory burdens on small businesses. Public submissions are open for the next six months.


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