Representatives of the large and SME business sectors have pledged their co-operation to push for reforms as a means of driving business profitability and boosting employment.
At the National Small Business Summit in Melbourne, Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott and Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) CEO Peter Strong signed a memorandum of understanding, which commits the two industry bodies to work together in a united push for “sensible economic reform”.
That includes a commitment to work together on issues around tax, supply chains and workplace relations, among other core operating concerns.
“Businesses breathe life into our towns and cities, employing four out of five working Australians, generating tax revenue that sustains government services, and returning profits to the nation’s shareholders and superannuation funds,” said Ms Westacott.
“This country has the capacity to become the most prosperous society in human history. We can be the masters of our own destiny, but that will require a competitive economy that sets the right incentives for businesses to reinvest and grow.
“Behind [successful big businesses] are strong partnerships with local small businesses, and every small business depends on having a growing and prosperous
Mr Strong added that businesses of all size attract their fair share of negative commentary, but it is important for the business community to not let the actions of a few rogue traders overwhelm the efforts of honest, hard-working companies.
“In any group of people, [businesses] or workers, there are always some who will do the wrong thing and this is why we need rules and regulators,” he said.
“With the BCA, we want to highlight the good things that business owners do.”
His comments are particularly pertinent, given that franchise networks are bracing for a greater compliance burden in light of employee underpayment scandals.
The pair said this latest co-operation builds on their joint work on the Australian Supplier Payment Code, a voluntary initiative that sees companies pledge to implementing fair payment terms for SME suppliers.