In the frantic rush to prepare for Christmas, you may have missed that the Abbott government passed 100 days in office, in mid-December. The first 100 days is a fairly meaningless milestone in many respects, particularly in terms of real policy outcomes. But it serves as a useful measure for judging the government’s commitment and zeal, especially with respects to election promises. The Abbott government’s first 100 days was dissected by a number of outlets including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review and the general consensus, and the polls, suggest they didn’t start well.
But what about small business policy?
I’ve written before about the optimism I felt at the government’s swift decision to have a small business Minister in Cabinet and the relocation of policy development to the Treasury. The major small business promise the government took to the election was to cut red tape. And while that is a large undertaking, earlier this year the media got word of a “repeal day” planned for the March sittings of Federal Parliament that would see the introduction of an omnibus Bill proposing the repeal of 8000 redundant and unnecessary regulations.
If true, this is very exciting news for small business!
But some smaller, still important, announcements have been made that you may have missed over summer. At the end of last year, the government announced a priority service for small business operators who call the Fair Work Ombudsman for assistance. But more importantly, the government also announced that small business operators could act on advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman without fear of prosecution, should the information later be found to be incorrect. You can check out the Fair Work Ombudsman’s small business pages, here. And just recently the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched their new small business hub. This is in response to feedback from small business that they have limited understanding of their responsibilities under ASIC law and find it difficult to engage in any meaningful way with ASIC. You can visit the hub, here. It’s short, sharp and sweet. And best of all, it’s written in plain English! So, while all the media noise is around the government’s position on asylum seekers, media bias and assistance to large companies, I think the government is doing some solid work on small business policy that deserves more publicity than it’s getting.