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Small business uncertainty reaches new heights.

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Small Business Uncertainty Reaches New Heights Joel Fitzgibbon - Shadow Minister for Small Business

Media Statement - 2 May 2000

Australia's small business people are facing increased uncertainty today following the revelation that the ACCC has not been instructed and, indeed, has no power to ensure prices do not rise by more than 10 per cent following the introduction of the GST.

"For months now, the Howard Government has been putting pressure on small business operators to partially absorb the price increase impact of the GST into their profit margins," Shadow Minister for Small Business, Joel Fitzgibbon, said today.

"In fact, John Howard, Peter Costello, Peter Reith, John Anderson and the Coalition have been threatening small businesses with fines of up to $10 million if they fail to meet the Government's draconian and anomalous requirements.

"The reality of the mess created by the Government on GST pricing is that for some small service-based firms facing high compliance costs, a 10% increase will result in an erosion of their profit levels.

"Until now, Peter Costello has been telling those small firms that they must absorb GST compliance costs if passing them on resulted in an increase in the price of a good or service beyond 10 per cent. Yet it seems he has failed to share his views with Professor Fels.

"Australia's small business people - already facing difficulty determining what savings will be passed on to them by their suppliers - are now confronted with further pressure and stress following Professor Fels' comments in Senate Estimates last night," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.