Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s budget has come under criticism from Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA), which is disappointed that there hasn’t been more focus on issues that really matter for small businesses. 

The council’s executive director Peter Strong pointed to a number of key areas where the budget falls short, such as “compliance costs, complex work place relations, confusing tax processes that place huge demands on the small business person, competition policy and contract law that favours big businesses,” he said. 

Strong said he was pleased to see continuing commitment to invest in innovation and added that there were, despite certain shortfalls, some positive outcomes of the budget. 

“Given the depth of the deficit we were pleased to see support for: the Enterprise Connect program; assistance to SMEs to apply for public sector work; and support for small businesses to engage in the digital economy,” Strong said.

Key areas addressed in today's federal budget announcement:

Infrastructure: COSBOA expect a positive impact on small businesses particularly in regional areas from the continuing infrastructure investment. 

Innovation: COSBOA are pleased to see the government continuing to fund support for innovative small businesses. However, how these funds will be distributed to small businesses still needs to be determined. 

Tax: COSBOA continues to be concerned about the complexity of the tax system which hasn't seen any changes from this budget. The demands placed on small business people to collect tax on behalf of employees are too great. 

Superannuation: COSBOA believes the government has missed the opportunity to add value to the superannuation system by removing the employers from the collection process; this change could save a significant amount in administration costs by simplifying the process and putting superannuation in the PAYG system. 

Health: There has been no specific focus on the health of the small business person. There are approximately two million small business people who employ a further five million people and their health has to be acknowledged.