Small Business Ombudsman’s recovery roadmap unveiled

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, has recently introduced a comprehensive recovery plan for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan details a suite of reforms to support affected small businesses and involves the implementation of a number of changes to improve the legal, regulatory and compliance environment.

These reforms include the following:

  • Abolition of Fringe Benefits Tax for small business.
  • Creation of a federal small business claims tribunal with ASBFEO offering triage services.
  • Permanent small business instant asset tax write-off of $150k.
  • Introduction of a Small Business Award.
  • Legislation of 30-day payment terms for small businesses.
  • Creation of a small business procurement panel for any Government contract under $10 million.

The aim of the recovery plan is to restart the economy by getting people back to work and rebuild economic confidence after the crisis.

The Ombudsman warned that such reforms are vital and that non-implementation of these changes would spell dire consequences for the small business community in Australia.

“Small businesses have never done it tougher. The devastating bushfire season has been overshadowed by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” Carnell said. “A collapse in local employment, tourism and events industries and the flow of goods and services around our country has led to economic conditions we’ve never seen before.

“Small business is the cornerstone of economic activity – employing over five million Australians,” Carnell added. “Right now, many small businesses are wondering how they will survive and if it is worth continuing in business at all.”

The Ombudsman pointed out that the recommendations cover a broad range of areas including taxation, access to justice, industrial relations and government procurement.”

“Trade-offs will need to be made but ultimately our COVID-19 Recovery Plan provides the framework to build essential support for Australia’s small businesses and family enterprises and a future that all Australians can be proud of,” Carnell concluded.

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