In our recent submission to the ACT Government Budget Consultation process the Chamber took the chance to highlight that there are about 26,000 small businesses spread throughout Canberra and surrounding region contributing to the wellbeing of the ACT economy.
Nationally, there are about two million small businesses providing seven million jobs, and contributing to half of the Australian economy. Sadly, however, the support small business receives in return is far from what it should be, and the Chamber argues that learning to think like a small business could help to address some of the key areas of the budget.
The enterprise of small business owners and operators is often viewed as a source of taxation revenue when instead governments should be actively rewarding and encouraging their initiative. Small business knows that every dollar of costs count against their continued survival.
That is why we argue the ACT Government needs to apply a business-like discipline to all of its activities, particularly in key service areas such as health, education and transport.
The Chamber is calling on the Government to tackle the deteriorating budget balance and stock of net debt, bring net debt back into line without resorting to new or raised imposts on business, rein in excessive service delivery costs for schools, public hospitals, and ACTION buses, overhaul current business and industry development programs, and abolish bad taxes and user charges.
Throughout the federal election campaign, Tony Abbott and his parliamentary colleagues swung their full support behind the ACCI Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign. This incredibly effective grassroots campaign centred on the urgent need to reduce red tape, simplify the tax system, make it easier to employ staff, and to build better infrastructure.
At the recent national ACCI dinner, the Chamber took the chance to speak with the Prime Minister about this campaign and his Government’s plans to reduce the size of the federal public service and the potential impact this will have on the thousands of small businesses in Canberra and surrounding region.
The Prime Minister assured us that he is only too aware of the important role small business plays in the ACT economy and he looks forward to working with the Chamber in developing strategies to drive private sector growth in this city.
Before I commenced in the role of CEO at the Chamber I would speak to anyone who would listen about my time living in Austin, Texas. In particular, I would talk about how impressed I was with the focus on innovation and the strong links that existed between government, business and the university sector that was clearly driving business opportunities and future growth for the city.
I returned from the US with a greater appreciation for the potential of disruptive innovation and a real sense of urgency about the need to strategically reposition the ACT as a national powerhouse in driving productivity and to promote Canberran innovation in the global marketplace.
With that in mind, the Chamber’s first major conference, Innovation Canberra, will be held at the National Convention Centre, 29-31 October 2014 with a clear focus on the practical application of innovative concepts and linking promising ideas with capital, process and market.
An additional aim of the event is to send a loud signal that Canberra presents a broad range of investment opportunities in a dynamic and productive environment.
Innovation Canberra will shine a light on the unique opportunities Canberra presents and build creative capital that draws new economic energy into the national capital, along with disruptive process innovation in governance. With Mr Jigar Shah, a globally respected innovator and business leader as our international guest speaker, we look forward to seeing everyone at Innovation Canberra. Details will be available soon.
The Chamber wishes all businesses a successful 2014.