With restrictions finally starting to lift and many small businesses re-opening or ramping up, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has called for a COVID-19 Recovery Plan, to help small businesses navigate the next phase of the pandemic.
Carnell acknowledges small business owners will be looking for guidance as they return to work with concerns about how to reinvent their business or navigate new rules of operation and ASBFEO will be there to lobby on their behalf.
“Of course, many small and family businesses may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering if their business will continue to be viable over the coming months. For businesses that were impacted by both COVID-19 and the devastating bushfire season, the hurdles may seem insurmountable,” Carnell says.
“With that in mind, my office has released a comprehensive plan, recommending a suite of reforms to support small businesses at this challenging time.
Our COVID-19 Recovery Plan details a number of changes that aim to create a small-business-friendly landscape including:
- legislating 30 day payment terms for small businesses
- creating a federal small business claims tribunal with ASBFEO to provide triage services
- abolishing Fringe Benefits Tax for small business
- making the small business instant asset tax write-off of $150k permanent
- introducing a Small Business Award
- ensuring least cost routing for electronic payments is available to all small businesses
- unfair contract terms automatically void in contracts up to $10m
- creating a small business procurement panel for any Government contract under $10m.
Carnell says the recovery plan aims to restart the economy by getting people back to work and building economic confidence.
“The recommendations cover a broad range of areas including tax, access to justice, industrial relations and government procurement. Ultimately our recovery plan provides the framework to build essential support for Australia’s small businesses and family enterprises and a future that we can all be proud of.”
The ombudsman acknowledges there has never been a tougher time to be in business and her office is there to provide support to business owners to help them through this challenging time.
“If you are not coping. Please visit our My Business Health web portal for practical tips to keep your business afloat and mental health resources from leading organisations or get in contact with a dedicated mental health professional at Beyond Blue.
My office has also released a free online mental health webinar for sole traders with Beyond Blue ambassador Garry Mills, during which he describes his own experiences with depression and anxiety and some of the strategies that worked for him in his darkest moments. If you have 10 minutes to watch this video, it will be time well spent.”
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