Australian SMEs have say in policy making

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A Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA) summit this week aimed to provide a framework for a fairer, level playing field for Australian SMEs, with those attending given the opportunity for input in the blueprint for policy-making for SMEs.

The summit (May 30-31) at the Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus featured workshops on these topics:

  • Corporate structures of the future for SMEs.
  • Fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Industrial relations.
  • The ‘internet of everything’ – technology challenges and opportunities for SMEs.
  • Helping SMEs internationalise through trade.
  • Financing small business.
  • The tax system simplified for SMEs.
  • The legal system simplified for SMEs.
  • Making regulations responsive to SME needs.
  • ‘Made in Australia’ – manufacturing.

SBAA founder and CEO Anne Nalder said she believed the summit was much needed because of “the complexities faced by SMEs in a global market, ever-changing rules and draconian regulation and competition”.

“We’ve thought very hard about what challenges small businesses face in our country and we’d like to mirror the Small Business Act of the EU [European Union],” she said.

“Australia presently has no framework of this calibre and I believe it’s time government changed its philosophy and worked towards helping small business, instead of deterring it.

“Our end goal is the creation of a national small-business charter that, supported by further lobbying, will form key policy in Australia.”

Ms Nalder said the summit featured industry experts with the aim of collaborating with business owners and critical stakeholders to bring about this change.

According to the SBAA, the summit had overwhelming support from business owners, industry leaders and key figures from all spheres of national government and legislature.

Ms Nalder said those attending included key personnel, “such as the Deputy Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Small Business Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, the President of the ACTU, and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.”

The Fair Work Commission and Queensland and federal Government representatives from the Office of Small Business and Treasury were also in attendance, “working alongside business owners and many experts in the fields of accounting, law and entrepreneurship in an unprecedented way for small business”, she said.

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