“While many regional businesses are small in size, they are big on ideas, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Chief Executive Mark Stone.
“Taken together, they are major employers and key drivers of state economic activity, trade and investment. Victorian Chamber seeks a commitment from governments at all levels to make regional small business a priority.”
Victorian Chamber’s Victoria Summit 2015 policy paper, Regional Victoria Means Business, contains a number of recommendations to support regional small business including:
- Raise the payroll tax threshold from $550,000 to $850,000 to assist regional SMEs to create jobs
- Retract Victoria’s two new public holidays, Easter Sunday and Grand Final eve, as they impose significant costs on small business and result in lost productivity
- Raise the 25 per cent regulatory reform target to a 30 per cent reduction in the level of red tape by June 2016 and ensure a significant number of the reforms directly benefit regional business
- Use WorkCover surpluses to fund lower premiums for employers
- Enable regional small businesses to employ more people by reforming penalty pay rate structures for small business employers
- Help unemployed regional youth, retrenched workers and out-of-trade apprentices get back to work by increasing the Back to Work employer payment from $2000 to $5000
- Aim for up to 20 per cent local content in all regional major projects and government purchasing and strengthen opportunities for regional SMEs and apprenticeships
- Consolidate existing state and local government information on available grants and financial support to regional small business under a single electronic point of entry
Other priority areas addressed at the Victorian Chamber Victoria Summit 2015 include:
- Investing in strategic regional infrastructure and leveraging regional business capabilities
- Supporting regional leadership and deepening global business connections
- Strengthening regional skills, education and training
- Accelerating regional land-use and new business investment opportunities
- Growing regional Victoria through tourism and events
- Strengthening regional service delivery and enhancing regional business decision making
The Victoria Summit recommendations will form the basis of Victorian Chamber’s regional business agenda into 2016 and beyond, including for Victorian Chamber’s 2016-17 state budget submission and the next federal election.
“We cannot expect Victoria’s economic performance to be strong without vibrant, outward looking and competitive regional business,” said Mr Stone.