The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) intends to push for radical policy change to improve the small business productivity landscape in Australia through the recommendations contained within its 2018 Australian Small Business White Paper released last week.

The White Paper, produced in partnership with the IPA Deakin SME Research Centre, is heavily focused on Australia’s declining productivity levels and provides policy solutions for the small business sector to help arrest this decline.

“In fact, never before has there been such an assembly of informed academic research, together with practitioner insights, purely focused on small business productivity, growth and prosperity; much needed ingredients for our economic wellbeing and future living standards, said IPA chief executive officer and White Paper co-author, Prof Andrew Conway.

The White Paper encompasses 12 topics: productivity, regulation, taxation, SME financial markets, workplace relations, job creation and job destruction, innovation, competition policy, family firms, internationalisation, mental health, and, digitisation and cybersecurity.

“Our primary message to policy makers is; think big, get out of the way of entrepreneurs, and watch small business truly drive productivity. Our Big Vision recommendations are:

  1. Broaden the base and lift the rate of GST (subject to the appropriate equity measures).
  2. Cut direct taxes.
  3. Undertake a zero-base design of a thoroughly modern taxation system.
  4. Reform and simplify the personal income tax scale.
  5. Standardise a company tax rate at 25%.
  6. States and territories to be held accountable to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Tax Reform to eliminate payroll tax and stamp duties. These revenues could be channelled into a state infrastructure fund to grow the economy.
  7. Commit an incoming federal government to hold a small business summit within the first six months of assuming office.
  8. The Prime Minister should form and chair a small business advisory council to provide direct policy input and options to the government to inform the COAG agenda with a core focus on productivity.
  9. The federal Small Business Minister should remain a permanent position in Cabinet, preferably with its own department.
  10. The federal government should facilitate small businesses joining global value chains to remain competitive and access global markets.

“Again, we need to ensure that the small business sector that is so vital to the Australian economy and standard of living, is well supported, encouraged and liberated to grow,” said Prof Conway.

For more detail on the Australian Small Business White Paper go to: https://www.publicaccountants.org.au/news-advocacy/small-business-white-paper