The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has conducted its first National Small Business Dialogue forum in Canberra involving key business dignitaries and influencers.

The forum, part of the IPA's I Love Small Business´ initiative, led discussion on key issues facing Australia's small businesses, including taxation and superannuation, competition policy and workplace relations.

Participants in the dialogue included senior representatives from the ACCC, COSBOA, REI, Enable HR and NAB (major supporter of IPA's I Love Small Business initiative). Input was also received from a number of other small business groups. 

Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business, the Hon Bernie Ripoll MP and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Bruce Billson MP, also presented to the forum.

"It has been great to have robust and passionate dialogue relating to small business, considering the vital contribution the sector makes each year to Australia's economy. Our focus is on generating an enduring conversation to achieve a real reduction in red tape by identifying specific areas for reform," said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

Output from the forum will contribute towards a national reform agenda for small business.  Discussion included the need for:

  • Simplification of the tax system for small business by exploring: a  lower rate of  tax for small business, removing complex concessions and more clearly defining "small business"
  • Removal of the regulatory burden of administering employee superannuation through the transfer of this function to an appropriate government agency 
  • Consideration of a review of sections of the Competition and Consumer Act
  • Greater representation of small business through increased consultation in review and establishment of workplace relations law
  • Establishment of a more equitable workplace relations regime which recognises the size and capacity of small business through appropriate market segmentation
  • The increase of small business participation, representation and voice, in key regulatory agencies 
  • Improve the rigour in the development of Small Business Impact Statements
  • Reconsider the role and powers of the Small Business Commissioner and whether these need to be strengthened

Matters requiring further research and analysis will be referred to the IPA-Deakin University SME Research Partnership for further analysis.