Ombudsman’s recovery roadmap a beacon of hope for small businesses

    The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has released a comprehensive plan, recommending a suite of reforms to support small businesses in the post-COVID recovery phase.

    ASBFEO’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan details a number of changes to improve the legal, regulatory and compliance environment for small businesses including:

    • Abolishing Fringe Benefits Tax for small business
    • Creating a federal small business claims tribunal with ASBFEO to provide triage services
    • Permanent small business instant asset tax write-off of $150,000
    • Introducing a Small Business Award
    • Legislating 30-day payment terms for small businesses
    • Creating a small business procurement panel for any Government contract under $10 million.

    The Ombudsman warns without these changes, the consequences will be dire for the Australian small business community.

    “Small businesses have never done it tougher,” Ms Carnell says.

    “The devastating bushfire season has been over-shadowed by the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”

    “A collapse in local employment, tourism and events industries and the flow of goods and services around our country has led to economic conditions we’ve never seen before.

    “Right now, many small businesses are wondering how they will survive and if it is worth continuing in business at all.

    “Our Recovery Plan aims to restart the economy by getting people back to work and building economic confidence. Small business is the cornerstone of economic activity – employing over 5 million Australians.

    “Our recommendations cover a broad range of areas including taxation, access to justice, industrial relations and government procurement.

    “Trade-offs will need to be made but ultimately our COVID-19 Recovery Plan provides the framework to build essential support for Australia’s small businesses and family enterprises and a future that all Australians can be proud of.”

    ASBFEO has since welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to go back to the drawing board on industrial relations and is calling for the introduction of a Small Business Award.

    “We’ve provided the government with our Review of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code, which recommends a number of changes to help small business employers meet their obligations,” Ms Carnell says.

    “Without a system overhaul, business confidence will continue to be undermined and that hurts both small businesses and workers.

    “We look forward to taking an active role in the government’s industrial relations discussions, as announced by the Prime Minister, over the coming months, so the small business community is heard on these issues that affect them directly.

    “This has the potential to be a game-changer for Australia’s small business and family enterprise sectors.

    “We are committed to working to achieve the best possible outcomes for small businesses.”

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