In a rallying cry for the struggling small business sector, the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) has pleaded to the government for more significant support for businesses ahead of the budget.
With small businesses facing unprecedented challenges amidst a backdrop of plummeting sales and skyrocketing costs, COSBOA is hoping to secure vital support measures to bolster the resilience of Australia’s entrepreneurial backbone.
COSBOA’s submission to the Treasury lays bare the harsh realities confronting small business owners nationwide. From dwindling sales revenue to mounting input costs, the survival of Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses hangs in the balance.
Drawing on compelling data from the latest COSBOA-Square report, which reveals 70 per cent of consumers slashing their spending over the past six months, the urgency of COSBOA’s appeal cannot be overstated. Many businesses report a 10 per cent reduction in average sales transactions, and embattled business owners need help to meet rising business costs.
In response to this dire situation, COSBOA’s submission outlines a comprehensive roadmap for government intervention. Key proposals include:
- Small business support measures
Enhanced funding for the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) to provide crucial advocacy and support services.
Expansion of the instant asset write-off threshold and extension of the small business energy incentive to provide much-needed relief.
- Better regulation and support services:
Establishment of a ‘small business flying squad’ to tackle red tape and streamline regulatory processes.
- Industrial relations reform:
COSBOA is cautioning against proposed legislative changes that could exacerbate compliance costs for small businesses.
- Superannuation reform:
Calls for improvements to the small business superannuation clearing house and a staged approach to proposed reforms.
- Skilled migration:
Calls for urgent budget support to attract skilled workers to fill labour shortages in small businesses.
- Payment system reforms:
Advocacy for payment reforms to protect merchants from rising transaction fees.
- Least cost routing
The creation of a framework for the implementation of Least Cost Routing (LCR). The framework should establish a clear timeline for LCR implementation for all payment methods, including in-person with a debit card, online, and in-person with a digital wallet.
- Tax reform:
Support measures in the budget to reduce payroll tax burdens and abolish the luxury car tax.
- Procurement and payment times:
Push for expedited reforms to ensure timely payments and improved access to government contracts.
- Competition and consumer reforms:
Emphasis on maintaining a competitive environment and protecting small businesses from anti-competitive practices.
- Privacy reforms and cybersecurity:
Tailored support and education for small businesses to navigate proposed privacy reforms and bolster cybersecurity defences.
- Artificial intelligence:
Highlighting the potential of AI to enhance productivity in small businesses and the need for appropriate regulatory frameworks.
As the government prepares to shape the budget for 2024-25, COSBOA’s CEO, Luke Achterstraat, says there is a clear need for relief measures for small businesses, and the government should provide them in the Federal Budget.
“Budget 2024-25 provides the government an opportunity to ensure small business owners are supported to be more productive, rather than deterred from employing others and increasing their productivity. Small businesses need a greater level of tailored support measures and less administrative and regulatory pressures. We continue to advocate for small business stakeholder consultation in relation to the 2024-25 budget, and we look forward to assisting you in this regard wherever possible,” Acterstraat said.
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