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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has been waging the ‘Small Business Too Big to Ignore’ campaign since April in a bid to ensure the sector isn’t forgotten in the 2013 federal election.

The campaign kicked up a notch this week after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called on small business to back the coalition in what he says will be a government which looks after the SME sector.

Abbott announced to the NSW Business Chamber’s third annual Australian business congress in Sydney on Wednesday that if the coalition comes to power, “We will not forget small business.” Abbott added that a coalition government would have a dedicated small business minister sitting in cabinet.

He also said the coalition planned to involve the sector in economic decision making by including a dedicated small business representative among Australian delegates on the Business 20 (B20) group – the group responsible for providing business input into the Group of 20 summit of advanced and emerging countries, which will be hosted by Australia in 2014.

On the other side of politics, the Rudd Labor government has also launched a new media campaign declaring it has delivered real reforms when it comes to red tape.

A statement by Senator Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, said the government has removed thousands of unnecessary regulations as part of its ongoing agenda to cut red tape.

“By removing unnecessary regulations, we are reducing the burden on business and helping to lift business efficiency and productivity,” Senator Wong, said.

Earlier this year the government passed the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting Measures) Act to enable the removal of around 12,000 redundant legislative instruments.

Under reforms introduced by Labor, a two-stage assessment of the impacts of proposed government regulations on business, the not-for-profit sector and the broader community is now required.

“This change allows business and key stakeholders to actively engage in the development of regulation, and will improve productivity by ensuring it is well-targeted, effective and improves productivity rather than creating unnecessary barriers for business,” Senator Wong said.

“Labor is committed to supporting business,” Senator Wong added. “That is why Labor has taken further steps to improve the government’s approach to implementing regulation.”

The Office of Best Practice Regulation has prepared a handbook on the revised Australian Government regulatory impact analysis requirements, which can be accessed here.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury also weighed in on the statement, saying that Labor has implemented major regulatory reforms since its time in government, aimed at improving productivity and driving competitiveness, including under the National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy.

“We’ve delivered Australia’s first national consumer law and product safety framework, overcoming years of inconsistent and uncoordinated regulation. Labor is making a real difference when it comes to cutting red tape. Meanwhile, the Opposition have resorted to repeating simplistic slogans and re-hashing old announcements over and over again,” Bradbury said.

At the business chamber meeting on Wednesday, Abbott said other anti-red tape reforms a coalition government would introduce would make it easier for small businesses to submit superannuation contributions and administer paid parental leave.

“We believe that it is more than possible to deliver $1 billion a year in red tape reductions, red tape cost reductions to business, particularly to small business and we’ll start by allowing business, small businesses to just send one check to the ATO for the superannuation guarantee levies of your staff,” Abbott said.

The Productivity Commission estimates that reducing red tape could add as much as $12 billion to national output.

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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