Small businesses are facing the prospect of faster payments for government contracts and a reduced burden in administering employee entitlements under Tony Abbott’s deregulation drive.
This Wednesday is the Abbott government’s so-called “Repeal Day” in which about 10,000 onerous regulations and pieces of legislation are scheduled to be scrapped.
The move, touted as the largest ever single bulk repeal in Australian history, is in line with the government target of reducing red tape costs by $1bn a year.
Under the changes, small business owners will no longer be required to act as paymasters for the existing paid parental leave scheme – a move estimated to save them up to $48 million. This saving to small business operators will hinge on the support of both houses of parliament.
The move would require the Family Assistance office to administer the payment unless both the employer and employee “opt-in” for the payment to be administered by the employer.
The tendering process for government contracts up to $200,000 will also be simplified in the form of a new “Commonwealth Contract Suite” containing standardized terms and conditions. This move is estimated to save businesses about $38 million a year.
Government payments can also be made more quickly under new guidelines allowing Commonwealth agencies to pay for products and services valued under $20,000 with credit and debit cards. This will fast-track payments to small business owners which currently are made through accounts with 30 day payment terms.
Guidelines will be published on the Department of Finance website to assist business through the tendering process.
Other changes thought to benefit small businesses include an extension in the maximum time a good (such as a motor vehicle) can be leased before it needs to be registered with the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) from 90 days to a year. The changes would allow for a new definition of motor vehicles as anything capable of travelling at 10km/h or having one or more motors with a total power greater than 200 watts.
The government has also proceeded with other changes, with Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) executive director, Peter Strong, saying that a renovation in the administration of superannuation payments was a “big one for us”.
Currently the government is in the process of moving the Small Business Clearing House from Medicare to the Australian Taxation Office, reducing the administrative burden on small business owners.
“Instead of dealing with the tax office and then dealing with Medicare, now we just deal with the tax office, so it’s one place to go to,” Mr Strong said.