In the wake of the recent federal elections and cabinet reshuffle, Labor Senator Katy Gallagher has taken on the role of Shadow Minister for Small Business and Superannuation.
One federal government policy that has caused contention between the two parties is the proposition to lower tax cuts to small businesses turning over up to $10 million a year.
The Opposition’s stance is that the definition of small business should be kept to an enterprise turning over up to $2 million a year.
“We’re very supportive of [tax cuts]. Obviously, there’s a disagreement about the threshold of what constitutes a small business,” Senator Gallagher says, “The budget can’t afford that.”
Despite the differing views on tax cuts between the Federal government and opposition, they’re both on the same page about red tape.
“Building on the areas where we had policy going into the election, it was really around making it easy to do business - so definitely looking at reducing red tape agenda.”
The same goes for innovation and funding new enterprises.
“I think making sure the innovation agenda is actually one that works for small business, so I think access to capital has become a real issue that’s raised with me. Making sure that people are able to get finance in the tricky area starting the new business, making sure the banks are responsive to small business.”
Born and raised in the ACT, Senator Gallagher uses Canberra’s Braddon as an example to the rest of Australia what urban renewal can do for the local economy.
“It’s a concrete example of how you can change city living, how you can deliver urban renewal when you have good ideas. Coming from business, working with governments to make sure the regulation and legislation’s right to support the work they do.”
On Lonsdale Street nestled in the heart of Braddon is florist Moxom + Whitney, run by Lou Moxom and Belinda Whitney. They agree that while Canberra’s small business sector is flourishing, red tape is still a huge issue.
“The bookwork that you have to do – the BAS, the GST…It’s really hard, [Whitney’s] on the computer more than she’s able to make terrariums,” says Lou.
They feel complying with regulation prevents them from being able to run their business to its full potential. “Business for us is talking to people and just knowing our community and learning from them so we can serve them better.”
The duo is also concerned about how accessible information is. Belinda asks, “Are there grants out there that we can access? I wouldn’t even know where to find information and what you offer. What’s out there?”