McCormack to Labor: Let's work together to actually level the playing field for small business

10 August 2017

LABOR Senators have today one-by-one cried crocodile tears for small business but if they are genuinely interested in levelling the playing field they should back in the Government’s changes to Section 46, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack says.

“The Access to Justice Bill is the first time the Labor Party has shown any interest in Australia’s small businesses in a very long time,” Mr McCormack said.

“Sadly, like a lot of Labor policies, it sounds good in theory but lacks any actual policy and practical understanding.

“Labor’s Bill over-promises and under-delivers by encouraging litigation as a first resort without considering the costs to business or the courts and by ignoring the real problem that our competition laws need to be strengthened.

"This latest Labor thought-bubble is a half-hearted attempt to address a serious competition problem which exists in the market – a problem the Government is seeking to fix by strengthening Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

“If Bill Shorten and Labor are serious about helping small business and levelling the playing field, I will welcome their support for fixing Section 46.”

The Government’s changes to Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 are designed to level the playing field for small businesses and ensure they compete on their merits against businesses with substantial market power.

“Our proposed changes – as recommended by the Harper Review – will help small business compete with the big players in the market,” Mr McCormack said.

“Strengthening Section 46 will balance the small business to big business market relationship and will do far more to assist small businesses than the Labor Party’s proposal which seeks only to give false hope to small business.

“Whether you’re in the city or the regions, the misuse of market power is a real issue for small businesses, and the Liberals and Nationals are determined to fix it.

“I call on Labor to work with us and fix the law, to level the playing field, to deliver changes sought by small businesspeople throughout Australia.”

Mr McCormack said Labor’s interest in small business should also extend to supporting the sector’s growth and local job creation.

“When we cut small business taxes, Labor voted against it,” Mr McCormack said.

“When we redefined “small business” so more small businesses pay less tax to help them create more jobs, Labor voted against it.

“Now, small business is again in Labor’s sights with yet another tax grab from the small business till, as if creating uncertainty on rolling back tax cuts was not insult enough.

“It’s time for Labor to stop the small business charade, stop the feigned indignation and stop the false hope, and start working with the Government to actually support small business.”


Dom Hopkinson