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Why better regulation is critical for both small businesses and consumers

Better regulation informed by small business impact statements would improve outcomes for consumers, small business and regulators and boost productivity, the NSW Small Business Commissioner has outlined.

In a speech to the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) National Small Business Summit, Commissioner Chris Lamont said better regulation should accommodate the needs of all parties and should avoid harm to businesses as well as consumers.

“I am concerned the growing aversion to risk in our society is inhibiting the growth and success of small businesses and innovative startups,” Mr Lamont said.

“A recurring theme I consistently hear from small businesses are their concerns with the cumulative impact and complexity of constantly changing rules and requirements.

“The accumulation of new red tape… is causing too many businesses to either stagnate or worse, exit.”


The comments by the Commissioner were made at a time when insolvency figures from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission show that businesses with fewer than 20 employees made up 82 per cent of companies that went under in the past year, with hospitality and construction businesses hit hardest.

In a range of surveys, including those conducted by the Commission, small businesses are registering concerns about being bogged down by redundant or substandard regulation.

“In the context of the national conversation about the competitiveness of our economy and cost of living pressures, we need to help our small businesses become more, rather than less competitive,” Mr Lamont said.

He noted the Commission’s proposal that new regulations should be informed by independent, small business impact statements was not a new one.

“These statements are aimed at ensuring new regulations are developed with consideration of the needs, limitations and importantly, the contributions of small business.  The aim is to reduce compliance costs for both business and governments,” Mr Lamont said.

“Independent small business impact statements would give business a role in the regulation-making and assessment process.”

The Commissioner’s comments were supported by COSBOA CEO Luke Archerstraat, who said there was a clear need for small business relief measures but if they were not coupled with a focus on better regulation and productive policy they would be in vain.


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