Deregulation taskforce a ‘game-changer’ for small business

By Nick Hall | 16 Sep 2019 View comments

Prospective small business owners may be in for significant boost, after the Federal Government launched a new deregulation taskforce.

Announced on Thursday, the taskforce will work alongside state and territory governments, and businesses themselves to identify and address the most significant barriers to investment.

Ben Morton, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet said the latest development was intended to help new business owners receive access to finance.

“This continues the Coalition Government’s commitment to reduce red tape and unnecessary regulation, making it easier for businesses to invest, create jobs and grow the economy,” Morton said in a statement.

“A better regulatory environment will help businesses lower their costs, save time and improve their competitiveness, while major infrastructure projects will help get us home sooner and safer.”

Deregulation taskforce key points

According to the government, the deregulation taskforce will focus on three key areas of implementation. These include; the degree of regulatory complexity, the length of time for approvals and duplication across levels of government.

The announcement of the deregulation taskforce comes at an interesting time for the franchising sector.

A difficult period of lending, coupled with strong regulatory conditions have weakened the rate of franchise growth across a number of industries.

Speaking at the Franchise Council of Australia‘s recruitment forum in July, Hire a Hubby CEO Brendan Green said it was often a frustrating situation to have qualified, capable applicants who are unable continue in the process due to lending constraints.

“One of the biggest things is having finance solutions in the background,” Green said. “If you’ve got someone who is a willing candidate, they might have the capacity but not the sophistication to acquire that money. It can be a real challenge.

Green suggested that as a result, a number of franchise brands had to turned to alternative lending or outside initiatives such as joint ventures to open the opportunity.

“If you take a look at the property market, which is where a lot of older Australians have made the money to get into business, younger people can’t do that. So, we have to get them in in different ways, and we’ve found that initiatives like the joint venture process to be highly successful.

Small business ‘crying out’ for support

The government’s new deregulation taskforce may ease conditions for a number of prospective entrepreneurs, however.

Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) suggested the new initiative would help to cut red tape, opening the door for future growth.

“Small businesses and family enterprises are crying out for less red tape and unnecessary regulation, so they can get on with the job of growing their business,” Carnell said.

“The government’s efforts to bring down the barriers to business investment and boost productivity are commendable. While we support the intentions of the deregulation taskforce in principle, understanding the detail of these proposals to ensure there are no unintended adverse consequences, is vital.”

Despite throwing her support behind the new deregulation taskforce, Carnell warned that consultation between all parties was critical to the implementation’s success.

“It’s also critical the government consults widely as part of the deregulation process, which my office is looking forward to playing an active role in, to ensure the government engages fully with small business,” she said.

“This has the potential to be a game-changer for Australia’s small businesses and family enterprises.”