THE AUDACIOUS PURSUIT continues with the tacit approval by Barnaby Joyce, as reported in The West Australian, September 10, 2016: Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has broken ranks with Malcolm Turnbull over WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls’ proposed iron ore tax, saying he will not “run down” a proposal designed to get a “better deal for its constituents”.

Also, The West Australian, 12.9.16 reports: “Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce refuses to condemn the tax plan, backing Mr Grylls as someone trying to get a “better deal” for the bush.”, and in an interview on the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday 11.9.16 Mr Joyce’s implied his support for Mr Grylls’ “audacious pursuit”.

BIG END OF TOWN THUGS: Again Grace Collier continues her pursuit of the big end of town that colludes with unions to impose the union EBAs on small business contractors.  The Weekend Australian, September 10, 2016 reports: Rest assured, I am not just picking on building company J. Hutchinson, and its managers, Edan Hawley and John Berlese.”

“Judge Salvatore Vasta says the discriminatory conduct of the company and the two managers “strikes at the heart of freedom of association” and, if left unchecked, then “the whole fabric of our industrial relations system will disintegrate”.”

“There are five other businesses being prosecuted over the same sort of thing. If they lose their cases, I intend to pick on them as well. Then those details will be on the public record. They, too, will be embarrassed in this column one Saturday. Then more complaints will be made and more prosecutions launched. On and on this cycle will go until we achieve permanent change in the managerial conduct of some of our largest companies.”

“It is the norm in the construction industry, mining, offshore oil and gas and even the communications sector. Generally speaking, in Australia, if a subcontractor wants to work on any of the “big jobs” they will be asked to sign a union enterprise bargaining agreement that will “uplift” the employment costs of their staff, often by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent.”

SUBBIES UNPAID: “British migrants Matt Duckett and David Shavrin started their landscape construction company three years ago, growing the business to the point where it has 12 employees.

Now they are struggling to make ends meet. The owners of iDigWA claim that is because embattled builder-developer Diploma Group owes them about $100,000, including interest, for unpaid work.” Reports The Weekend West, September 10, 2016.

“Building Commissioner Peter Gow said the commission was investigating Diploma Construction (WA) “and assessing the available information to determine its performance and viability as a registered building contractor”. Other Diploma entities, including DGX Construction, were being assessed.

“One explanation offered by an outsider for the group’s difficulties is a lack of or delay in new projects. On top of payment disputes, staff have been made redundant and DGX Construction’s Leederville office closed.”

Again, it is the big end of town that is screwing the small business subcontractors.

TAX CUTS, TAX HIKES & COMPROMISE: A report in the The Sunday Times of 11.9.16 alerts small businesses of the unintended consequences of the Government’s tax cuts for small businesses, in stating:

“SHAREHOLDERS in small businesses with a turnover between $2 million and $10 million could face a higher tax bill during the transition to Treasurer Scott Morrison’s corporate tax cut.

The Government has conceded after consultation with Treasury officials that in some cases shareholders could pay more during the transition from a 30 per cent rate to 275 per cent.

The bizarre unintended consequence of the tax cut is a one-off that will affect only companies paying a franked dividend in the year after they pay the 30 per cent tax.

In some cases, a small-business owner receiving a $100,000 dividend could be worse off by up to $20,000 in that year.”

However, The Australian, September 15, 2016 reports: The Turnbull government is preparing to split its $48.7 billion company tax reform bill in order to secure an immediate gain for small employers, forcing it to shelve almost all of its core economic policy in the face of certain defeat in the Senate.” And, “The Australian has been told the government strategy is to split the bill when the Senate rejects the tax cuts for big companies, ­acknowledging the will of parliament and adjusting swiftly to ­deliver benefits to small business.”

With the spirit of bi-partisanship and compromise in the past week seemingly afflicting the major parties, with the passing of the ‘Omnibus’ and Superannuation Bills, one can but guess what the future holds for small business. Watch this space!