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Small business statement long on text - short on detail

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"The Government's long awaited small business statement is a SMALL step in the right direction, but it fails to provide the necessary detail to convince the small business sector that the Government is committed to addressing the concerns o f small businesses," said Mrs Judi Moylan MP, Shadow Minister for Small Business.

Business regulation was the only issue addressed by the Minister, albeit in a manner that espoused well known principles, while offering little substance on how the Government proposes to enact the necessary amendments to the Trade Practices Act.

"Taxation, red tape and regulation issues and access to sources o f finance were all non-events in the Minister's statement.

"The difficulties currently being experienced by many small businesses in their competitive dealings with large businesses will gain very little satisfaction from the Minister's statement.

"The statement by the Minister provides no detail on the specific amendments to Section 51AA o f the Trade Practices Act.

"The real test o f the Government's determination to address these issues will rest with the substance o f the amendments. The Minister has also offered no timetable or commitment on this important aspect.

"In short, after all the industry consultation processes, the Minister still has not provided a detailed plan o f action for consideration by the small business sector.

"Small businesses have been offered a feel good statement.

"Importantly, there has been no analysis o f the impact on business relationships between large and small businesses.

"Where will the net benefits fall, is a vital question requiring an urgent response from the Minister.

"The announcement o f a Small Business Unit within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is a welcome initiative.

"But the benefit o f education in Trade Practices issues will be dependent on the point o f interaction with small businesses.


JUDI MOYLAN MP Shadow Minister for Small Business & Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Women's Affairs

Member for Pearce

"The major test o f how the Government's statement will influence market behaviour is when the ACCC mounts its first test case.

"The Minister gave no guarantees that such an event would even occur, because it will be up to the ACCC to set its priorities for test cases and resource allocation.

"The Government's response indicate that it is struggling with issues o f importance to small businesses.

"After 11 months the Government's response to the Review o f the Franchise Code is addressed by announcing that it will strengthen the Trade Practices Act to increase protection against the unfair exploitation o f franchisees by unscrupulous franchisors.

"Again, the leading question is: How?

"Despite the glossy brochures, the hard work lays ahead for the Minister to now outline the detail o f his commitments.

"Valuable time has been wasted. The Minister has raised the expectation o f the small business sector, he must now deliver the goods."

21 September, 1995 CANBERRA C O N TA CT

06 277 4928