MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 11 August 2017

MILKING SMALL BUSINESS: Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business writing in The Australian, August 11, 2017 under the heading ‘Bill Shorten’s uninformed mob out to milk small business’ (copied below), quotes an answer he gave to the Parliament during Question Time yesterday, in which he pulls no punches in lambasting the ALP and Bill Shorten in particular, in which he stated: “Whether in the schoolyard, the saleyard or the back yard, in the country you see that ups and downs of weather patterns and commodity prices don’t stop at the farm gate. Yet as Labor rushes to the till for another tax grab, it spares no second thought for small business. Farmers and small businesses have more in common than a postcode.”

The Minister is to be commended for his forthright response.

BUSINESS IS BOOMING? Based on the latest National Australia Bank survey, reported in The Australian, August 8, 2017, “which says conditions are better than at any time since early 2008. And after three years of steady improvement in profits, sales and employment, companies are increasingly confident about the outlook.”

Who did the NAB survey? Obviously not small business, or the results we suggest would be totally opposite. Whilst CoSBA has not done any empirical studies, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that small business is still experiencing hard times with no light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

The report points out: “UBS economist George Tharenou said there was a more significant “disconnect” between the NAB survey and the latest national accounts, which showed the economy at its weakest level since the global financial crisis, forcing the Reserve Bank to cut its growth forecasts.” We rest our case.

THE WORKPLACE: The Australian, August 10, 2017 reports on “Martin Ferguson’s experience on both sides of the industrial relations fence . . .” (copied below). One report paraphrasing Mr Ferguson said: “If chief executives, business owners and small businesses in other areas want reform, however, they need to make the case and explain why, at a time of low wages growth, the pendulum has swung back too far in favour of unions in key areas.”

For too long small business has been its own worst enemy, it has complained and relied on Governments, agencies or hoped that the big end of town will fight the good fight on its behalf, no chance. Governments are too concerned with votes, agencies do a good job but at the end of the day their effectiveness is limited succumbing to the dictates of the government masters they serve, as for the big end of town, if the issues are in conflict with their interest – and many are, they will sell small business down the gurgler without a second thought.

Unless and until small business has the will and finds the resources to fight the good fight for itself instead of looking to others to do it nothing will change.

But from time to time small business is blessed with surprisingly small mercies, for example the one reported in The Australian, August 10, 2017 (copied below), under the heading:Xenophon and One Nation protect ‘killer’ building code’, in which the report stated: “Senator Xenophon said he could not support the motion given his ongoing concern about the union’s conduct and the culture of the industry.” However, “He said he expected to be subjected to retribution by the CFMEU. “I have been told that after today there will be, in effect, Armageddon unleashed against me, that it will be a massive campaign the likes of which I’ve never seen,’’ he told the Senate.”

Senator Xenophon and One Nation, on behalf of small business, CoSBA commends you.