Small business urges government to cut red tape

Cutting red tape generates growth – no wonder it tops SMEs’ wish lists.

Cutting red tape tops the New Year’s wish list for Australia’s SMEs, according to research we recently conducted. They are also asking Government for greater incentives to support investment in people and new technologies; additional R&D rebates and grants to business; lower corporate tax rates; and investment in the next post resources and construction boom, so Australian businesses can become more competitive.

Our client base in Australia comprises SMEs, start-ups, private wealth and not-for-profits across all industries and sizes.

Whether you’re a long-established family business or an entrepreneurial start-up, red tape is the number one concern. SMEs are asking the Federal Government in 2017 for sustainable policies that reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and regulation – including reduced payroll taxes, an efficient BAS regime, and further incentives to employ workers on 457 visas. They worry about lost time and reduced efficiency and productivity. It’s a problem for all our clients, large and small.

The mid-market makes up 40 per cent of Australian business, but many enterprise clients feel that although the Federal Government recognises their contribution, it doesn’t always support them.

2016 has been a year of flux. What SMEs need from Government is reassurance and action, particularly at a time when the implications of Brexit and the election of the Trump government fuel uncertainties even further.

Also high on the SME wish list is a request for further R&D rebates and grants to aid innovation and development.

SMEs recognise the fact that Australia now does business in a post resources and post construction boom world. Identifying and tapping into the next successful platforms with government support would help counter disruptors in the market by harnessing new technology and data so they can stay ahead of the game. So would greater incentives to encourage Australian business to take on the world and become more globally competitive.

Such incentives become increasingly important as disruptors in whatever form – new players, cheap imports or technological advances – remain among the prime battles facing SMEs and taking up this challenge is a priority for any company’s long-term future.

A reduction in the long-debated corporate tax rate is also on the Top five list.

This would build confidence and stimulate growth in new markets and products for a more prosperous future.

These tax savings over time will better enable small business to reinvest in people, training, technology and improved processes, which will enhance their global competitiveness.

Rob Bazzani, Enterprise National Managing Partner, KPMG

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