The Queensland Government’s decision to scrap its business commissioner role is a “backward step”, according to small business lobbyist Peter Strong, who says the role was poorly structured.
Blair Davies assumed the role of Queensland Business Commissioner in November last year, but failed to make any real impact. Eight months later, the role has been scrapped.
“The Queensland business commissioner was charged with reducing red tape across government,” a government spokesperson told the Herald Sun.
“This function will now be absorbed by the new Office of Business Best Practice Regulation to be established within the Queensland Competition Authority.”
“This will avoid the unnecessary duplication of services and help the LNP meet its commitment to cut red tape by 20%.”
Davies repeatedly came under fire during his time as business commissioner for failing to make any real changes.
After being appointed, Davies asked The Courier-Mail to give him two months to meet as many businesspeople as possible, before he would provide a timeline of how red tape would be cut.
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Twelve weeks after taking charge, Davies was unable to confirm how many businesspeople he had met across Queensland.
“I can’t tell you how quickly that’s going to occur. I couldn’t tell you how many actual businesses,” he said.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, says the decision is a backward step and that rather than scrap the role, the government needed to redefine it.
“It wasn’t targeted specifically at small business. It was targeted at business in general. Big business doesn’t need help – they have all the experts under the sun,” Strong told StartupSmart.
“There was a mistake in the structuring of it – they made a big mistake. They’ve actually gone backwards when all the other states have people coming into the role.”
“What they’re looking at replacing it with – a committee – won’t work. Committees don’t remove red tape. More often than not, they add red tape.”
Strong says he will “hope and pray” the Queensland Government considers reintroducing the role, albeit with a different person to fulfil it.
“They might have a look at the NSW model or the Victorian model, and model it on that,” he says.
“I think [the role wasn’t effective] because it was set up the wrong way. The commissioner didn’t have a lot of power and the role lacked definition, so it was difficult to do anything and get measured on what you’ve done.”