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Rewards for slashing small business red tape

By  Stephen Sealey

Just the mention of ‘red tape’ is usually enough to elicit a less than positive response from the typical small business owner.

But tonight’s Budget should go some way towards reducing the burden of regulation and paperwork that everyone in small business knows only too well.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told Parliament that he understood the frustration small businesses faced in trying to get ahead.

Mr Morrison announced a new scheme to provide up to $300 million over two years to states and territories that reduced unnecessary regulatory restrictions on competition and small businesses.

“Small businesses are disproportionately affected by red tape and regulations and so disproportionately benefit from the removal of unnecessary restrictions,” he said.

“Reducing red tape and regulations help small businesses by levelling the playing field in the market, decreasing business costs and giving businesses more time to run and grow their business.”

In 2013, the Federal Government committed to cutting red tape costs by $1 billion every year. Since then, it has reduced the annual regulatory burden on businesses and the community by more than $5.8 billion, exceeding its target every year.

Now Mr Morrision says it is the states’ turn to come to join the ‘red tape’ cutting party.

“Feedback from small businesses is that states continue to impose a wide range of regulations that unnecessarily prevent them from growing and creating jobs,” he said.

“These regulations impede innovation and entrepreneurship. They can also restrict small businesses’ ability to take on foreign competitors, reducing the products and services they can provide or limiting where and when their businesses can operate.”

Budget papers said improving competitiveness by cutting red tape would encourage businesses to take advantage of new opportunities, and lead to faster innovation and deployment of new technology.

“It rewards the most dynamic and innovative businesses that provide the best services at the lowest cost. It raises productivity and grows our economy, resulting in more and better jobs and higher living standards.”

The red tape offensive will be managed through the Government’s existing National Partnership on Regulatory Reform.