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Thursday, 12 April 1973
Page: 1401

Mr PEACOCK (Kooyong) - Apart from tabling the report, the Minister for Secondary Industry (Dr J. F. Cairns) is hardly advancing his Government's activities at all. All that he said has been said before by the previous Minister for Trade and Industry, the present Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony), who will speak with me on this matter, and his predecessor as Minister for Trade and Industry. However, I join the Minister for Secondary Industry in congratulating and expressing appreciation to the Committee on Small Business which is under the chairmanship of Fred Wiltshire. What the Minister has said is merely a continuation of the previous Government's policy regarding small business and the gratuitous remarks of the Minister about the previous Government frankly can be left as stated, which is possibly more than they deserve.

The significance of small businesses in Australia is well known and the Minister's figures and percentages put before the House today are accepted. They, too, have all been quoted often enough before. I have not had the opportunity in the short time available to reread the report but the important thing in respect of small businesses as in Australia is not to control them but to seek to remove their problems and allow the competitive processes to operate. It appears from the summary at the commencement of the report that the major and basic problems of small business are succinctly dealt with. These problems include dealing with money matters, decision making and working under pressure. These are the sorts of problems with which small businesses such as small companies and family firms are saddled. In addition there is the lack of capital and lack of power to delegate to others. They all create problems in competing with larger corporations. In my view probably the 3 major problems of such businesses are the financial problems including taxation, management and the domination by big firms and the danger of takeovers. These matters are dealt with in the report the summary of which says in relation to the financial problems:

Where this ls an ignorance of business and money management, production, planning and marketing, this must limit the assistance which can be obtained through the normal financial channels.

It is fair to point out that most small businesses and others who have looked at the matter generally accept that there are limited sources of growth capital.

Debate interrupted.

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