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Easing the burdens on small business

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- , λ ^ λ μλ ^- M i n i s t e r f o r I n d u s t r y , S c i e n c e a n d T o u r i s m The Hon. John Moore, MP

Wednesday 12 June 1996 55/96


The National Small Business Summit will produce major initiatives which will be of great benefit to small business, the Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, Mr Moore, said at the opening of the Summit today.

“A key to ensuring a better environment for small business is to reduce the onerous burdens of regulation that small businesses face in their day-to-day operations,” Mr Moore said.

In his speech, Mr Moore outlined a number of confusing regulations which the Government will repeal.

One example is a regulation under the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905. It says the description on a pre-packaged article “shall not contain a prohibited expression or a restricted expression except in certain circumstances”. But some of the terms that must not be used are: “large”, “family”, “jumbo” and “giant”! (See attachment for other examples.)

Mr Moore told the Summit: “Since the 1960s, approximately 60,000 regulations have come into force. Some are in conflict and some are redundant. This burden of regulation stifles enterprise, impedes innovation, restricts creativity' and smothers business with the dead weight of paperwork.

“Axing needless regulations will improve our competitive edge and give Australian industry a chance to win in world markets.”

Mr Moore said the Government had already begun to improve the environment for small business: “We are developing the Government’s Three Year Action Plan. Its key components are taxation and law reform; addressing the capital needs of small business; and reforming the industrial relations regime.

“These include simplifying the Corporations Law to reduce the costs and complexity of raising capital; exempting small business from onerous prospectus requirements; tax reforms to free up capital for small business and simplifying the operation of Fringe Benefit Tax and reducing compliance costs,” M r Moore said.

“We are well on our way to meeting our election commitments to small business,” he said.

“Today’s National Small Business Summit will produce initiatives to benefit small business as well as contributing to the work of the Small Business Deregulation Task Force.

“Some regulation is necessary: to protect consumers, safeguard the environment, raise standards in business and ensure public safety. However, there are far too many unnecessary regulations. They stifle enterprise; impede innovation; restrict creativity7; and smother business with the dead weight of paperwork and compliance.”

The Minister called for close cooperation between all spheres of government, including State and local government, as well as the business sector.

“This Summit is an example of the close cooperation that is necessary between all spheres o f government if we are to reduce the burdens on business.”

Contact: CMR074

Cheryl Cartwright Minister’s office 06/2777580

For a copy of the speech: Norma Rainey DIST 06/2762389



The Commerce (Imports) Regulations made under the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905 include a requirement that:

in information applying to the volume o f an article where the volume is expressed in tenns o f the gallon “a fraction other than 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 shall not be used ”.

The regulation then requires that:

the fraction 1/8 shall not be used with a whole number in expressing the volume o f the article.

The Commerce (Imports) Regulations also say that:

a trade description on a pre-packaged article shall not contain a prohibited expression or a restricted expression except in certain circumstances.

But among the terms which cannot be used to describe a product are terms such as:

large, family, economy, jumbo, king, queen, huge, giant, bigger and extra.

In schedule three of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations of the Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act 1905, there is a prohibition on the importation of “insulated electrical conductors in the form o f cable or cord” which was apparently inserted into the regulations in 1919.