Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s commitment to establishing a Government-guaranteed loan scheme for small business owners is a great initiative that should be adopted immediately by the Federal Government, according to prominent NSW business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.
“Access to finance for small business owners is the greatest impediment to establishing or expanding a business, and I congratulate the Federal Opposition for committing to a policy that will provide real benefit for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] and create new jobs,” NSW Business Chamber chief executive Stephen Cartwright said.
“The NSW Business Chamber first raised this idea in 2013 with our Thinking Business Report: Small Business Access to Finance.
“We knew that similar schemes had worked in other countries, and the engine room of the national economy was crying out for this type of Government guaranteed loan scheme.
“Our Report indicated that access to finance conservatively affected more than 200,000 businesses, forcing them to slow their growth, lay off staff or shutdown altogether.
“According to ABS data at the time, access to finance was the number one barrier to innovation and the third largest barrier to general business activity.
“When he assumed the leadership of the Labor Party following the 2013 election, Mr Shorten also took on responsibility for small business, a sector that had largely deserted Labor Government at the last election.
“Policies such as this one clearly demonstrate that Mr Shorten and his party now understand the concerns of small business owners, have listened to their feedback and have responded accordingly.
“There is a clear challenge now for the Federal Government to adopt this policy, and bring it before the Parliament where it will clearly enjoy bi-partisan support.
“That being said, both the Budget speech and the Budget in reply speech have clearly demonstrated that the on-going campaign delivered by the united national Chamber movement, Small Business: Too Big To Ignore has finally hit a chord with political leaders from both major parties, and it is very pleasing that the small business sector of the economy, which employs more than seven million Australians, is now the new political battleground,” Cartwright said.
Edited by Peter Needham