Confidence in government

first_imgThe election is finally out of the way and the government has a big agenda ahead of it. Right out of the gates it has announced a tax review, a financial services review, a competition review, and a review of government spending. Importantly, the government has said it will consult with and wants to hear from businesses. This is a smart move – the business community does most of Australia’s employing, wholesale consuming and production, and the expectation of a Coalition victory last week was cause in itself for businesses to gain some confidence. We saw evidence of this sentiment in the most recent NAB Business Survey, which switched from a -3 confidence score on the economy to a +6 score, in the space of a month. Improved confidence is a good sign, and this new government brings the promise of change. So I wonder which changes business owners would urge on the new government if they had the access and influence. What would you say to our new treasurer, Joe Hockey, if you could spend the next month as his adviser? Don’t assume he wouldn’t listen: Joe Hockey grew up in a family of business owners and understands the issues well, which is evident in the Coalition’s commitment to reducing company tax rate by 1.5 per cent and cutting regulatory burden on business. So where would you start if you had the opportunity to speak up about red tape, competition and other issues that matter to you? Most small business owners would probably start with taxes – there’s too many of them and they’re too high. But which ones would you reduce, which would you scrap and which part of the system would you reform? Most business owners understand that the political stability and regulatory structure we operate within makes it easy and safe to do business in this country; they also know that it doesn’t come free. That means the business tax system has to raise requisite amounts of cash before it concerns itself with fairness or efficiency. It’s the same with red tape. We all want an easier way of doing business, but which red tape do we advise Joe Hockey to cut? Which ones should he streamline and which regulation is working well? Where do you stop when you cut red tape? One area a business owner might urge the treasurer into would be competition policy. Market dominance by large conglomerates can hurt smaller businesses, which generally means prices rise and choice reduces. But is there a solution when large companies dominate? It’s instructive to note that while the confidence survey found an increase in confidence due to the expectation of a new government, some of the component parts of the survey looked quite sickly. Overall business conditions were considered ‘extremely weak’ in mining, manufacturing, retail, construction, wholesale and transport and utilities, all of which scored in the negative range. There are still problems in this economy for many business owners. But which solutions would you put to the treasurer? This is probably the time to speak up. I’d love to hear your ideas. * Mark Bouris is the Executive Chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a financial services company offering home loans, financial planning, accounting & tax and insurance. Email Mark on [email protected] with any queries you may have or for your nearest branch. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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