Small business holds little hope for budget in “disarray”

Small business is not expecting much assistance out of tomorrow’s budget, as business groups raise concern about a lack of planning in the budget.


Peter Strong, executive director of Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany he is concerned about what has been described as budget “chaos” by the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group and the Minerals Council of Australia.


ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson told The Australian business was apprehensive about the budget “because we know that there is very little left in the cupboard”.


Recent budgets had been “very much directed at the business community providing the additional funds through higher tax obligations or broken promises to reduce taxes”.


Strong says he is also concerned about tomorrow’s budget, but there are particular areas which will impact small business more than the large business groups.


“I agree with what the business groups are saying, except what they want is for people to focus on the big end of town and to look after them,” Strong says.


“We are quite concerned that we will go back to an era when government will only focus on big business and has an opinion that if you only focus on big business, small business will be fine.”


Strong says he is particularly concerned about contract law, which involves contracts between small business and big business, and issues around competition policy, which favours many big businesses.


He does not expect much assistance for small business out of tomorrow’s budget.


“I don’t think we will get a lot out of it, it’s a big deficit budget and they don’t give a lot,” he says.


“We would like some help for small business to get into Asia and also assistance for small business to take advantage of high speed internet.”


The warnings from business groups come as the government announced the budget will include a clampdown on international tax avoidance and in particular multinationals avoiding Australian tax.


Treasurer Wayne Swan told journalist Laurie Oakes on Sunday television yesterday that the government is just about to sign a new tax treaty with Switzerland, which will give authorities access to tax information that high-wealth individuals have hidden in accounts.


“There does need to be a very substantial clampdown on tax havens, on high-wealth individuals hiding their money in tax havens and of course, profit shifting which occurs through many multinational companies,” he said.


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.


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