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Yellow Pages Small Business Index - A Sorry GST Tale Joel Fitzgibbon - Shadow Minister for Small Business

Media Statement - 27 February 2001

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John Howard now holds the dubious honour of presiding over the worst three results on small business confidence since the establishment of the Yellow Pages Business Index for small and medium enterprises, according to Labor's spokesperson for small business, Joel Fitzgibbon.

In terms of small business profitability, the first six months of the GST have produced the worst two results of the Index's eight year history.

"The bottom line in terms of today's results is that the GST is wreaking havoc throughout the small business community.

"A massive 45 per cent of small firms say Federal Government policies are working against them-a reflection of the impact of the GST," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"Overwhelmingly, the Index shows that the sharp decline in small business support for the Government is because of the GST. Respondents nominated the paperwork burden associated with the New Tax System when asked why they believe John Howard's policies are working against them.

"When you look at the sectors hardest hit by the implementation of the GST-retail, manufacturing, and transport and storage-this is where business confidence is lowest.

"The index also points to a worrying trend-a widening gap between metropolitan and regional small business confidence.

"Today's results are only the start of the GST fallout story. It's clear that small business is holding the Prime Minister accountable on his broken commitment to reduce small business red tape by 50 per cent," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"How many more 'records' will John Howard set in terms of his impact on small business? Only time will tell-but if John Howard believes the BAS changes announced last week are sufficient to lift the GST burden off small business, he is sadly mistaken."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.