After close to a decade of the Coalition government, small businesses are doing it tough.

The COVID 19 pandemic, bushfires, floods and the ever-increasing cost of business, are having a significant impact on small businesses across the country.

Despite all the challenges small business face, the Morrison Government continues to take small business for granted.

When asked what he would do to help small business during the pandemic, Scott Morrison flatly refused to help because it was “a matter for the states”.

The Morrison Government rejected repeated calls to provide small business support throughout the pandemic, instead providing piecemeal reactive measures with no national plan.

An Albanese Labor Government will be a government for small business.

Small business is the engine room of the national economy and Labor will support Australians who want to start their own small business and existing small business owners to grow and expand.

Lowering the costs of business

Small business knows all too well how much more it is costing them to run their business.

The price of fuel has gone up but so too has many of the costs of just doing business – materials, supplies, rents.

Small business is feeling the squeeze – watching their own costs go up while looking after their customers at the same time.

Labor’s plan for cheaper renewable energy will reduce energy costs for small businesses.

And Labor will reduce the cost of Electric Vehicles – providing the opportunity for small businesses to upgrade their fleets and reduce their fuel costs.

Eight out of ten small businesses find government regulation far too complex.

More needs to be done to reduce the time small businesses spend on paperwork by exploring opportunities to reduce red tape through simpler administration and better systems.

Retaining and skilling key workers

Recruiting and retaining skilled workers is a significant priority for small businesses. One in five small businesses report they are unable to find suitable staff.

Hiring and training staff represents a significant cost to small business. That’s why Labor has announced 465,000 Fee Free TAFE places for sectors facing skill shortages.

Labor’s policy will provide small business with ready access to skilled labour making it easier to attract staff and reducing the costs for small business in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce.

Labor will also make childcare more affordable for workers – making it easier for small business to offer more hours to their key workers without them incurring a penalty.

And by making childcare cheaper, micro and small businesses start-ups can invest the time needed to grow and expand their businesses, taking them to the next stage in their growth.

Labor’s plans for Fee Free TAFE and Cheaper Child Care will also be complemented by the introduction of a Young Entrepreneurs Start Up Year.

Under Labor, up to 2,000 final year students will be provided with the opportunity to establish their own start up business in the final years of their studies – increasing the pool of young entrepreneurs and helping drive innovation.

Access to government work

Government supply is a significant driver in Australia, with reports indicating that government contracts have totalled $190 billion over the last three financial years.

Labor sees no reason why Australian taxpayer dollars should go to London when they can go to Launceston or why we buy from Pittsburgh when we can buy in Perth.

Labor will open up more opportunities for small business by increasing the threshold where agencies can directly engage with small businesses from $200,000 to $500,000.

A Labor Government will use the Commonwealth’s purchasing power to support opportunities for local small businesses to grow and prosper and we’ll make it easier for small business to participate in Commonwealth procurement by reducing and removing red tape in the processes small business have to meet to bid for government contracts.

Protecting small business

In an increasingly uncertain and challenging world, small businesses are faced with an ever-increasing set of risks.

Sixty-two per cent of small businesses have experienced a cyber security incident in the last year but the Morrison Government has not done enough to help small business arm themselves against growing cyber-attacks.

Labor understands that small businesses are at the front line of cyber threats and will establish a National Anti-Scam Centre, based on the successful UK ‘Fusion Cell’ model, bringing together law enforcement, banks, telecommunications providers and consumer advocates to harden national defences protecting Australian small businesses.

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