Small business voices concerns and pressure points

Aaron Morey, CCIWA Chief Economist (left) and CEO Chris Rodwell at the Small Business Summit

Aaron Morey, CCIWA Chief Economist (left) and CEO Chris Rodwell at the Small Business Summit

Around 60 passionate Members attended CCIWA’s Small Business Summit on November 29 to share insights, voice their concerns and provide valuable input on what they need from the Government and how CCIWA can help support them. 

Attendees heard from CEO Chris Rodwell and Chief Economist Aaron Morey who encouraged Members to provide open and honest feedback. 

“It’s through the voice and the face of the actual small business owners that we can really make a difference and support a better environment for businesses to grow,” says Rodwell, who was recently in Canberra to speak with Government and industry leaders. 

Rodwell says with SMEs holding the lion’s share of jobs in Australia, it is vital their voices are heard. 

“SMEs hold 62% of the share of employment in WA,” he says. 

“That’s another motivating factor for the work that we are doing.” 

Key issues raised at the summit included the Federal Government’s industrial relations reforms, cost pressures, worker shortages, insurance premiums, housing shortages, migration and payroll tax. 

Rodwell says payroll tax continues to be a bug bear for SMEs. 

“Payroll tax is always a focus for us,” he says. “It’s always head and shoulders above any issue in terms of feedback from our Members. 

“WA is burdened with the highest payroll tax in the country.” 

A Member raised concerns about the complexity of the workplace relations system and the lack of resources in small business to keep up with the plethora of changes. 

“There is a disconnect between the complexity of the system and all the industrial relations changes that just keep coming raft, after raft, after raft, and the ability of a small to medium enterprise to actually keep on top of it,” the Member says. 

“The businesses that I have encountered don’t have an HR team sitting on level 36. You don’t have five in-house lawyers to tell you how things work.”

“There is no understanding from the big end of town that down at this level, people do not generally have the capability to keep themselves across all these changes. 

“Just navigating if your employees are on five different awards and just making sure your payroll is constantly tracking all the changes is a real challenge and I think it’s been really underestimated.” 

The effects on productivity keeping up with all the changes is also a major hindrance, another Member raised. 

“All these things that are constantly being changed or being put forward to be changed, the process takes so long. It has to affect the productivity of small business owners, and we know there is a problem with productivity in this country.” 

Another Member talked about broadening the definition of small business, which the Federal Government has defined as 15 workers or less. 

“Whether they look at revenue rather than just the number of workers,” the Member says. 

“We have over 100 volunteers who are now classed as workers. So, on the outside we look like a huge organisation but our revenue doesn’t match this.” 

To find out more about what we stand for, visit our Advocacy page. 

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