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The Coalition is listening to small business.



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20 September 2002 02/179

THE COALITION IS LISTENING TO SMALL BUSINESS

At the National Small Business Forum held today in Canberra, the views of Australia's small businesses were delivered directly to the Federal Government by 34 peak industry and professional associations.

The Forum provided key stakeholders with an opportunity to raise issues of concern for the engine room of the economy, Australia's 1.1 million small businesses.

It is critical that small business be consulted with and involved in the decision making process of government. The channels of communication are always open.

Today's important consultative process also provided an opportunity for the Government to highlight its policies and new initiatives, such as the reintroduction of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Fair Dismissal Bill 2002) No.2.

It was particularly pleasing to welcome to a new member to the Forum, the Micro Business Network (MBN), represented at the National Small Business Forum by Barbara Gabogrecan and Theo Moody. With an extensive and diverse membership the MBN made a valuable contribution to the Forum and provided a helpful regional perspective to discussions.

Unfortunately the Labor Party continues to exclude small business in favour of the trade union movement.

Labor blocked in the Senate the Government's Small Business Protection Bill, protecting small businesses from unlawful secondary boycotts.

The Labor Party has even tried to amend legislation so that the unfair dismissal laws introduced under Labor would be extended to also apply to casual workers. This change alone would have led to mass layoffs in the hospitality industry as employers fear the creeping hand of litigation.

In contrast to the Labor Party who continue to ignore the needs of small business, the Coalition continues to consult, ensuring a better understanding of the needs of small business.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, Ph: 02 6277 7450 CMR238-02