Small business owners in Bonner last night met with Federal Minister for Small Business, the Hon Bruce Billson, and Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, to discuss issues affecting the small business sector, and to announce new measures that will provide support to small business owners.
Speaking at a Small Business Forum in Carina with special guest Minister Billson, Mr Vasta said he was committed to cutting red tape for local small businesses and helping them improve their productivity and growth.
“Small businesses are an economic powerhouse that make a vital contribution to the Australian economy, and are an important driver of employment and innovation,” Mr Vasta said.
“From my own experience of running a small business, I recognise the many changing needs of small business owners, and I am dedicated to helping those in Bonner grow and thrive.”
High on the agenda was the impact of the Australian supermarket duopoly on small business, with many business owners voicing their concerns about the increasing market power of Coles and Woolworths.
Minister Billson encouraged attendees to make their voice heard by submitting a response to the Harper Review Panel’s Draft Report, calling the Harper Review the most comprehensive review of Australia’s competition law and policy in two decades.
Submissions to the Harper Review Panel can be made online at www.competitionpolicyreview.gov.au and are due by 17 November 2014.
Mr Vasta and Minister Billson also announced further help for small business with the new Australian Small Business Advisory Programme (ASBAS).
Applications for the ASBAS Programme open today for not-for profit small business advisory service providers, and will deliver low cost small business advisory and information services to the community.
“The Government will make available $18 million over three years for chambers of commerce, business enterprise centres and industry groups to deliver advice and information services to small businesses and start-ups,” Mr Vasta said.
“Small businesses in Bonner will be able to get help with funding avenues and financial analysis, building your business, making the most of your talent and team, management capabilities, and digital engagement implementation.”
Minister Billson highlighted the digital engagement aspect of the assistance, encouraging business owners to build and maintain an online presence.
“Almost 80 per cent of Australians are now online, and small businesses without an online presence may be losing out to their competitors at home and overseas,” Minister Billson said.
The Government will also unwind changes to the tax treatment of Employee Share Schemes that were introduced in 2009, which effectively brought to a halt the use of such schemes for start-up companies in Australia.
“Our reform will bolster entrepreneurship, and help innovative start-up companies attract and retain high-quality staff,” Minister Billson said.
Eligible not-for-profit small business advisors interested in receiving further information about ASBAS may register at www.business.gov.au/asbas.
New services are expected to commence in February 2015, and small businesses seeking assistance should contact the single business service contact centre or visit www.business.gov.au.