The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has recast itself as a champion of small business in the lead up to the election using a National Press Club address to launch a campaign called “The Big 4 You Can’t Ignore for Small Business”.
But the Council of Small Business of Australia says it has left two items off the list.
Wednesday’s address was silent about competition policy, where small businesses believe they are being monstered by the two big retailers, and silent about contract law, where small businesses say they are at the mercy of the shopping centre chains.
“I don’t want to attack the Chamber. It is doing a good job in an area it feels comfortable in,” said Council of Small Business executive director Peter Strong. “But it won’t address the supply chain issue because it also represents Coles and Woolworths. It won’t address tenancy issues because it also shopping centre landlords.”
“Our members face take-it-or-leave-it contracts from those landlords. They are forces to take on multinationals. We would like the same sort of protections in place for them as for consumers"...
The four concerns raised by the Chamber are red tape, an overly-complex tax system, unwieldy employment rules and inadequate roads, ports and railways.
The Chamber is especially concerned about planned changes to the fair work laws which will make “an unbalanced set of laws even worse”.
“Employers are frustrated, the small business people of Australia feel let down by the barracking and partisanship that has brought this about,” ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson told the press club.
Mr Anderson said he wanted more small business people in parliament and in the top echelon of the public service. His predecessor as chief executive, Peter Hendy is the endorsed Coalition candidate for the seat of Eden Monaro.
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