Small Business needs its own policies, says NSW Small Business Minister John Barilaro

John Barilaro

The Hon John Barilaro MP speaking at North Ryde RSL Community Club this morning

Addressing guests at a Ryde Business Forum breakfast at North Ryde RSL Community Club this morning, the Hon John Barilaro MP, NSW Minister for Small Business, made a statement which delighted business owners in the room.

“Policy settings for small business, including taxation, should be different to those of big business, and that’s something I’m pushing to be taken up at a federal level,” Mr Barilaro said,

“Payroll tax needs to change in New South Wales. The threshold at the moment in our state is $750,000, and we are ranked fourth in payroll tax in Australia. If you’re an innovative small business paying high salaries to four or five employees you will likely hit that threshold. This is a tax that punishes you for growing your business and employing people, and the state government is going to do a lot of work on that,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The costs at the moment of running a small business, including red tape, OH&S, Workers Compensation and insurances are too high to allow small businesses to grow,” he said.

“Big businesses can absorb these costs; small businesses can’t,” he said.

Lydia Scuglia, President of Ryde Business Forum, is fully in favour of a two tier set of business policies.

“As Mr Barilaro said this morning, small business makes up nearly 97 per cent of business in the city of Ryde. While there are plenty of larger small businesses in our area there are many ‘mum and dad’ businesses struggling to make ends meet in a new global economy where people can buy items sitting at their computer rather than heading out to their local shopping precincts,” Ms Scuglia said.

“We need to support these businesses as they are truly the lifeblood of our community, and help them to remain competitive.

“Ryde Business Forum, through our local politicians and the NSW Business Chamber, will continue lobbying for policy reform for small business on behalf of its members and the wider business community,” she said.

“We look forward to having Mr Barilaro return next year to update us on reform success,” Ms Scuglia said.

North Ryde RSL

L-R Chris Jones, Johanna Sciancelapore, Yvonne Dornan, The Hon John Barilaro MP, Lydia Scuglia, Emma Watson, The Hon Victor Dominello MP, John Alexander MP

Mr Barilaro owns a manufacturing business in southern NSW which he ran prior to entering politics. It is now run by his family who have had to change the way it operates in order to remain competitive, becoming more innovative and serving a niche market and new customers. Mr Barilaro has been a small business owner for more than twenty years and understands the needs of business owners and the difficulties of remaining successful in the current economic climate.

Local politicians John Alexander MP (Member for Bennelong), The Hon Victor Dominello MP (Member for Ryde) and Clr Roy Maggio (Deputy Mayor, City of Ryde) attended this morning’s breakfast.

As well as discussing policy reform, Mr Barilaro spoke about

  • Red Tape. “The NSW Government has cut red tape with $500M in savings so far. I am still not sure whether that has made a difference to the small business owner,” Mr Barilaro said.
  • Manufacturing. His view is that manufacturing in Australia isn’t dead, we need to find innovative and niche markets (“Not toasters and washing machines”) whether they are domestic or overseas, and position ourselves in a way where we can take advantage.
  • Office of the Small Business Commissioner.  A reminder that the OSBC runs a number of programs on behalf of the NSW Government including the Small Biz Bus, provides government resources to business owners and raises awareness of these resources.
  • Resources in different languages. With the influx of migrants which is likely to continue the NSW Government provides resources in different languages so new business owners can understand the way business is conducted in NSW.
  • State Government payment policy. The NSW Government now pays suppliers within 30 days, to assist small businesses who are suppliers.
John and Victor

The Hon John Barilaro MP and the Hon Victor Dominello MP

Questions from the floor:

  • Frank Bonifacio: Inequity with security bonds for leases. Residential bonds are capped at one month, commercial bonds can be up to six months, tying up money the business owner could use to run his/her business. In addition small business tenants, depending on the landlord’s stipulations, may pay land tax, insurance and council rates on their rented property; there is no law governing this. John Barilaro: Will take it on board and pursue it.
  • Brad Browne: Would like to know more about issues with manufacturing and innovation. John Barilaro: Trying to match innovative opportunities with Australian businesses, including overseas opportunities. The NSW government is working with Asian nations to identify opportunities. This also applies in the agricultural sector, for example, exporting a niche product – milk – to Asia.
  • Patrick Colahan: Question about labelling and shipping compliance. There is plenty of information on how to label for export available on government websites but little about labelling for local sales. John Barilaro: Apologised for the ‘clumsiness’ of NSW government websites which do not provide an obvious solution to this compliance issue.
  • Andrew Bland: With overseas entities investing in NSW, how can small business owners engage with these investors? Can the state government facilitate?  John Barilaro: When government looks at opportunities they look from large overseas players to small business and try and link the players. There are some good opportunities available but it’s up to business owners to investigate what’s out there. There is plenty of investment in big industries but not so much for small business. He wants small business at the forefront of policy making for overseas investment.
  • David Rafferty: Small business innovates out of need. What can the government do in the way of, e.g., a scheme for seeking money for innovative ideas such as capital investment for a social enterprise and employment program? John Barilaro:  Wants to develop a policy around seed funding and access to finance to assist small business.
  • Nathan Pratt: Which two  items of red tape would, as a business owner, like to see removed? John Barilaro. Some industries, like the taxi industry, are heavily regulated. Others, like the beauty industry, are deregulated and probably need more regulation. Would like to see flexibility in working hours, insurance and workers’ compensation. Businesses can pay workers’ comp premiums for years, have one claim and get heavily penalised. Payroll tax needs to change in NSW (see statements at the top of this page).

Disclaimer: Ryde Business Forum is not affiliated with, nor supports, any political party. Mr Barilaro’s views are his own and have been reported on this website as faithfully as possible for the information of our members and visitors.