The Turnbull Government has recently struck a landmark agreement with state and territory governments for a new National Business Simplification Initiative. Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt said will reduce the complexity of regulations for businesses and make dealings with government easier. The initiative will tackle duplication of unnecessary regulation across federal, state and local government levels, while also providing a one-stop shop for service delivery of government business solutions.
The milestone initiative is a welcome step into the right direction, especially in terms of enabling more businesses to set up shop and generate jobs much faster.
As a company with its core focus on making it easier for all types of Australian businesses to get off the ground seamlessly, without having to fill in the same information on a form more than once, the National Business Simplification Initiative is one that we welcome.
Getting the Commonwealth and state governments agreeing to streamlining procedures and regulations for doing business is a first step, but the devil will be in the detail and execution. For far too long there has been too much talk and not enough action concerning the simplification of business registration and abiding by government regulations, whether they be state or federal.
As pointed out by Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Mr Craig Laundy, it currently takes up to 18 months to set up a café in New South Wales. Business owners need to complete up to 48 forms and comply with up to 75 different regulations across different levels of government. This is unacceptable and could (and should) be streamlined.
A recent survey* from NAB Economics found that red tape was one of the main things stopping wannabe entrepreneurs from starting a business, with 60 per cent of would-be entrepreneurs** saying it was holding them back from getting started. This just goes to show what might occur if there was an easier way to register businesses and abide by government regulation without being overwhelmed by various, onerous government forms and bureaucracy.
We hope Friday’s announcement leads to real action. It would be nice, for instance, to catch up to our neighbours in New Zealand, who have already introduced similar initiatives, but also kept costs low. In Australia, companies have to pay $469 to register a company, one of the highest fees in the world. In New Zealand a business pays $142 for the same thing.
Further, there are fears that the proposed privatisation of the ASIC company database will lead to even higher fees, not only for registration, but for renewal and late fees, changes of structure fees, and the fees paid to do a company search. The government has yet to say whether this will be the case, even though it is reportedly finalising the tender process for the sell-off.