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Reith neglects small business

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- « .n u v . 1999— 16:53— HON KIM BEAZLEY MEDIA

NO.361 P .4 /4


Nicola Roxon MP Member for Gellibrand

25 November 1999


The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Peter Reith, spends so much time being obsessed with unnecessary and harmful industrial relations reforms that he constantly neglects his other portfolio area - small business, the Member for Gellibrand, Nicola Roxon, said today.

Today in Parliament, Ms Roxon asked Mr Reith why he was not ensuring that small business taxation information kits were being produced in languages other than English.

“The Australian Taxation Office has developed registration and information kits for the use of small business operators, but Mr Reith didn’t even know if the information was to be provided in languages other than English,” Ms Roxon said.

“After scurrying off and seeking further advice, he said some information, like fact sheets, would be available in other languages, and there was a translation service,

“It is laughable to think small business operators will ring a phone translation service to go through a 32 page taxation guide.

“This is the practical sort o f help thousands o f small businesses need from the government, not more rhetoric about unfair dismissals.

“Sadly, Peter Reith's small-minded ideology prevents him looking at the real needs of business."

Ms Roxon said the failure to produce the kits in other languages is contrary to DIMA’s Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society.

“This is completely unacceptable,” Ms Roxon said.

“In my electorate o f Gellibrand, especially in Footscray and Sunshine, there are thousands of ethnic small businesses that need this help, but will be unable to access it.

“A measly $200 compensation voucher will not come near covering the cost of GST compliance implementation.

“These businesses will be forced to seek additional professional advice because the Howard Government will not fulfil its obligations to our multicultural community.

“Peter Reith has deserted small business, particularly ethnic small businesses.”

For more information call: Nicola Roxon or Michelle MacDonald on (02) 6277 2039