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Has Dr Emerson become the Minister for uncertainty?

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Tue, 12th August 2008


Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy & Tourism

More uncertainty surrounds Australia’s 2.4 million small businesses, with the Rudd Labor Government considering subjecting small business to new privacy regulations and refusing to rule out a mandatory unit pricing scheme for small independent grocers.

“These are tough times for small businesses as they compete in tough economic conditions. To ask small business to absorb Labor’s proposed increased compliance costs would really up the pressure,” Shadow Small Business Minister Steven Ciobo said.

“The Federal Government is refusing to exempt small independent retailers from unit pricing if it is introduced, leaving a dark cloud hanging over the heads of independent grocers, trying to compete with rising fuel costs.

“Dr Craig Emerson has become the Minister for Uncertainty, with the Rudd Labor Government failing to provide any regulatory certainty for Australia’s 2.4 million small businesses.

“What’s more, Labor is considering 295 recommendations by the Australian Law Reform Commission, some of which may impose more red tape on small business.

“Labor must take into consideration the compliance costs that’ll hit small businesses right between the eyes. Small businesses have enough to cope with without further red tape, particularly in the midst of tough economic conditions.”

The Shadow Small Business Minister said there is continued uncertainty surrounding unfair dismissal laws, with Labor’s policy still unclear and no definite start date.

“These unknown factors over unfair dismissal exemptions only add to the wave of uncertainty surrounding Australian small businesses since Labor came to office,” Mr Ciobo said.

“The Rudd Labor Government must clarify whether ACTU President Sharan Burrow will have a stronger voice than its 10-member small business advisory group.

“Small Business Minister, Dr Emerson must decide who he's going to listen to and who he's going to represent - will it be the small business sector or will it be the union movement?”

This week Coalition MPs are hearing from small businesses right around the country as part of the Pollies for Small Business programme.

“The Coalition has always been committed to small business and where possible, reduced red tape,” Mr Ciobo said.

“This week we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting behind the scenes of small businesses.

“I’ve already worked behind the counter of a small pharmacy this week and tomorrow I’ll be getting my hands dirty at a Gold Coast mechanic shop. Talking to small business owners directly is crucial to ensuring our policies meet their needs.”