Small business is key, but with little voice. Why the Australian Government needs to grow up
May 7, 2014
Today EntreHub represents more than 16,000 entrepreneurs and business owners across 81 countries. In Australia there are more than 1,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs who run both small and medium sized business that are part of a network of other small businesses that are the back bone of the Australian economy. Our social impact reach is more than 300,000 people.
Very rarely do we offer commentary on any particular nation state’s policies or advocate for a position. But, today – as Co-Founder of the EntreHub and as a member of a number of public and private sector boards and Academic institutions in Australia I have decided to state the following in respect of the Australian Governments ill-fated focus on telling the Australian people that somehow the economy is a basket case and we are all going to hell in a hand basket.
Firstly, unlike members of the Government I ran a multi-billion corporation who sat at the centre of the potential meltdown of the Australian economy during the heights of the global financial crisis. It was a business centred on finding people work and at that stage we had been operating in Australia for more than 60 years.
I saw the means and ends to which many Australian business owners took to keep their heads above water and, while it is true programmes were poorly executed, we exited the GFC as a stand-out economy. Yes the economy has faced deficits as it has done since federation but to arbitrarily push a line that we are facing an economic emergency is nothing more than playing the potential of the economy down and depressing confidence from investors and consumers alike.
The fact is by implementing a tax, and you can spin all the weasel words around that word as you want to by calling it a levy, that somehow pushes Australians to pay off the debt in the immediacy does nothing more than depress confidence even further and by depressing confidence you depress consumption.
As former Australian Treasurer Peter Costello has indicated the proposed tax won’t even touch the sides of Australia’s debt and is more about politics than anything else. He went further by saying:
“It will detract from growth by reducing consumption. It will produce no interest rate reduction and, if it lasts four years and raises $10bn, the most it could save would be $400m in annual interest — hardly enough to touch the sides of the annual $12bn government financing requirement.”
Liberal Member of Parliament Teresa Gambaro has said "We didn't go to the election with a debt levy and I believe it's a breach of promise." She went on to tell the ABC: "At the last election we went to the Australian people with a promise of being a government of no surprises, so it's absolutely incumbent that after the six years that we went through of Labor's chaos and confusion that we provide certainty and leadership."
Then there is the anticipated cut to funding for the not-for-profit sector which will impact on programmes that Governments themselves used to run but stepped out of it when they discovered the new world of outsourcing, impacts to funding on institutions such as CSIRO (did everyone forget they invited WIFI) and research undertaken by our academic institutions.
This is a scatter gunned approach to problems that loom large that require vision and not weasel words playing politics with the emotions of business.
Oh, and by the way – where has the voice of small business been in all of this? Why is it that the big end of town is over represented when the real economy is supported by the tens and hundreds of thousands of Australians that get up every morning and work through the night to keep their small business above water.
Instead we have a Commission of Audit run by the usual suspects. Well, how pathetic is that.It is time for real solutions and real vision. The games of politics needs to end and we need to get back to the business of politics.
All of these little staffers running around thinking they somehow know how to run the show and get one over on each other or the myriad of lobbyists who bank money on connections has to stop.We need real policies, real vision and real action.
Grow up and get on with the business of governing the nation.
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