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Small business in the Budget shadow of big business.

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Senator Aden Ridgeway Australian Democrats Industry, Small Business & Tourism Spokesperson

14 May 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/330

Small Business in the Budget Shadow of Big Business

The Australian Democrats say that the budget’s industry measures will favour larger corporations at the expense of small business.

Industry and Small Business Spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway said these measures will generally benefit big business over small business.

“These international taxation reforms are aimed at assisting multinational corporations who base their operations in Australia and to assist Australian multinationals expand abroad,” said Senator Ridgeway.

“By leaving the $150 million cap on the Export Market Development Grants Scheme (EMDG), the government is making it more difficult for small businesses that have begun exporting with the assistance of the EMDG to continue doing so.

“Given the Government’s stated target to double the number of exporters by 2006, they should be doing more to facilitate export activity.

“Further, the Government has ignored its commitment to the manufacturing sector to remove the Tariff Concession System (TCS).

“This 3% tariff on imported inputs in domestic manufacturing is particularly harmful in cases where similar finished goods enter Australia duty free.

“The TCS goes against current trends in the manufacturing industry for the establishment of global supply chains, linking Australia to both regional and international markets.

“Many of the manufacturers affected by this are small and medium sized businesses,” said Senator Ridgeway.

The Democrats welcomed the Government’s injection of funds into the Research and Development Start program, which is crucial to assist small and medium size companies remain competitive and also welcomed the ongoing and additional funding for the continuation of the Automotive Competitive Scheme (ACIS).

Contact: Liz Willis 0417 410 506