9th December 2015



Today, the Council of Small Business Australia’s (COSBOA) MicroEconomic Challenge took place, reinforcing and invigorating the message that small business is crucial to growing and sustaining the Australian economy.

Throughout the day small business owners and their supporters heard from government and industry leaders and regulators, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and Justice Iain Ross from the Fair Work Commission (FWC), to name but a few.

Steve Vesperman, Deputy Tax Commissioner at the ATO for small business discussed how the ATO is looking to understand and improve small business’ experience with the tax system.

“Recent updates to the administrative system have required us to develop a much better understanding of the experience of small businesses in their interactions with the tax system. As a result, we’re looking at how we can continue to improve that experience and provide the best outcome in terms of them meeting small business obligations,” said Mr Vesperman.

During his panel, Mr Vesperman was joined by Cletus Brown, Director of Knowledge Solutions from FWO, who described FWO’s role as that of a balanced regulator, here to help small businesses, who are trying to do the right thing, and target those who are deliberately doing the wrong thing.

Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, said these positive advancements are changing the small business landscape.

“It is heartening to see the likes of the ATO, FWO and FWC looking at how they can improve and streamline the way they work with small businesses and consumers.

“Whether that comes in the form of using technology more effectively, or communicating with language that’s easy to understand; the result is more people ‘having a go’ so we can build healthy communities and bolster the economy,” said Mr Strong.

Mr Strong recounts that healthy communities and economies were not the only topics on the agenda at the MicroEconomic Challenge with the health of small business people also imperative.

“The wealthiest places aren’t necessarily the healthiest. It’s very stressful running a business and it’s important that the mental and physical health of owners is taken care of.

“The MicroEconomic Challenge has been a great opportunity to empower the small business community; however, it is clear that there remains frustration with the current status quo in certain areas of small business legislation and we will continue to see to it that these areas are addressed by industry bodies and regulators,” concluded Mr Strong.

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