The State Small Business Commissioners and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman have come together to continue their collaborative efforts in supporting Australia’s small-business community.
Among the matters discussed during the meeting were:
- the impact of the different vaccination mandates across jurisdiction on small businesses and the challenge of providing actionable information to small businesses to help navigate these obligations;
- insurance challenges facing small businesses and whether the ASBFEO’s sugestion of a “discretionary mutual fund” is a viable solution to the insurance crisis facing the amusement, leisure and active recreation sector;
- the handling of outstanding debts accumulated during the pandemic and the need for the ATO, financiers, landlords and trade creditors to be more considerate as a return to more regularised arrangements alongside recovering trading conditions is underway;
- and the possiblity of greater collaboration between the Commonwealth, State/Territory, and local governments to streamline approvals and licencing process and reduce the red-tape burden on small business.
“We acknowledge the past two years have been incredibly challenging for our community, and particularly so for our small and family businesses,” the State Small Business Commissioners and the ASBFEO said in a joint statement. “As lockdowns end, freedoms return and we enter a new normal, we share in the small business community’s optimism.
“We see a case for ongoing support for those businesses that are recovery-impaired and we urge policymakers, the private sector and customers to continue to support small businesses, as so many have been doing.”
The commissioners and the Ombudsman have also called on the public to be more patient and understanding in dealing with them as they face difficult challenges in the wake of the pandemic.
“Challenges implementing public health directions to support community reopening, staffing shortages, cost pressures and some supply chain and logistics difficulties are imposing additional demands on already fully focused, time poor and committed small and family businesses,” they explained.
“Given the increased volume of online sales expected in the lead up to Christmas and predicted delays in delivery services, we ask customers to factor additional time in and order their gifts as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Vouchers for ‘experiences’ in hospitality, entertainment, visitor and regional economies will be helpful to support economic recovery.”
Australian shoppers are urged anew to buy from small businesses at this crucial time, whether they are a local bricks-and-mortar store or is selling at any one of the social media platforms that showcase small businesses such as Click for Vic, Buy from the Bush, Empty Esky, Spend with Them, Stay with Them, or Australian Made Campaign’s Christmas Crackers Gift Guide, to name a few.
“Throughout this pandemic, more Australians have come to value the enormous contribution small and family businesses make to the economy and communities,” the statement said. “They are owned and led by real people who have embraced the responsibilities of business ownership to create opportunities for themselves, for those around them and for the communities they are an active part of.
“We call on Australian shoppers to embrace the festive spirit this year and spend big with small business. In supporting a small business, we assist with its recovery and the livelihoods that depend on it, which has flow-on benefits for the community and the broader economy. Our experience with the post-GFC recovery means we know small business will play a significant role in post-pandemic jobs growth.”