An increase to the minimum wage as suggested by Labor yesterday would be a devastating blow to small business operators across Australia, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman said yesterday.
“Let’s be quite clear that this proposal is a war on small business, not big business,” said Ombudsman Kate Carnell. “The greatest impact would be on businesses that use awards, and that is small to medium businesses, which make up more than 97 per cent of businesses in Australia.
“Nearly half of our small-business owners already earn less than the minimum wage and for these people, an increase in awards will mean job losses, limited employment opportunities and businesses closing.”
Ms Carnell said the consequences of hiking the minimum wage need to be thoroughly investigated, particularly the impact it will have on small businesses.
“A reality check on this issue is certainly required. The sentiment coming through this morning from small business is that they are already doing it tough.
“They are saying they would like to pay themselves and their employees more, but are literally struggling to pay their ever increasing business bills. When 97 per cent of Australian businesses cannot afford to employ more people, the spark of confidence and potential for economic growth we are seeing will be extinguished,” Carnell noted.