‘Who wins the marginal seats will determine the upcoming election, the vote of small business people in these seats cannot be underestimated,’ says the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA).
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA commented on the critical importance that small business will play in this Federal election, where small business people count for large numbers of voters in marginal seats. COSBOA will focus on the small business community being informed on key policy issues, and he warns that transparency should be at the heart of this election.
‘Small business people in electorates across Australia will play a vital part in the election. They make up between 8 – 16 percent of voters, on average around 11.7 percent per electorate. There is no denying that the vote of every small business owner and those working for them count,’ said Mr Strong.
In the seat of McEwen (VIC) there is a 0.2 percent margin and the small business community makes up 9.4 percent of voters. In Eden-Monaro (NSW), the margin is 0.6 percent and small business is 11.3 percent of voters, while in Capricornia (QLD) the margin is 0.8 percent and small businesses make up 11.6 percent of voters.
‘It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of an election and focus on the major two parties, but communities need to look to at the individuals who will representing their community and what they stand for. Small businesses impact everyone’s day-to-day lives, from local accountants, gyms, cafes and grocers to health practitioners and owner drivers. We need a government with a clear direction that includes key policies to support small business, then the entire community benefits and Australia’s cultural fabric gains strength.
‘It cannot be stressed enough the importance of being informed on policy when casting a vote. Small business drives the economy and supports a diverse culture. To disadvantage this sector would be disastrous,’ he said.
‘There must be an end to secret big union and big business influence on policy and process. It is not just small business people that suffer from covert influence, it’s also medium businesses, non-employing independent contractors and Australian workers. The economy cannot be managed effectively in back rooms and dark places,’ warned Mr Strong.
COSBOA has outlined the key policy issues it believes should be front and centre for small businesses in the upcoming election:
An Effects Test in Competition (Section 46) -As announced by the Turnbull Government, when the election is over this must be enacted. (Labor is against the Effects Test, which is perhaps due the shared interests of the powerful Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and Big Retail. KS)
The Road Transport Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) must not be reinstated – If road safety is to be achieved, it won’t be through the workplace relations system.
Health of the self-employed person must be considered – This is particularly important for mental health; we need equality in consideration and responsibility for health where everyone counts, including the self-employed and employees.
Reform of Vocational Education and Training (VET) – The current system is failing workers, unemployed, businesses and productivity. Small business needs to be funded for training through their own businesses and sectors.
Efficiency from Employment Service Providers – Unemployed people and employers are not given the service needed from many of these government funded providers – provide assessment of performance by associations.
Ensure large businesses pay their tax – Most big businesses pay their tax, the ones that don’t need to be brought to task.
Telecommunications, Technology & Innovation – Get the NBN happening faster, ensure fair access to telecommunications and lower cost for businesses and consumers.
B2B communications – There are billions to be saved in time and money if businesses can communicate faster and more efficiently. Back invoicing and the Digital Business Council.
Workplace Relations – Focus on small workplaces; use plain English in awards and agreements and create a small workplace industrial award and remove the industry/union cartels.
Superannuation – Remove employers from the superannuation collection process and place it in PAYG. Billions will be saved in administration costs for employers and funds.
The threshold for defining a small business must be up to $10m – This change picks up an additional 90,000 businesses who are still small businesses who employ, innovate and add to culture and diversity.
Financing for Small Business – The issues with banks, Fintech, P2P lending and financing in general needs urgent attention.