The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has joined with regional chambers including the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce today to release businesses' report card on how the major political parties compare in terms of policy on election eve.
The verdict none of the parties have promised enough to meet the core objective small business has demanded with respect to harmonious workplace laws, lower energy bills, and more focus on local skills.
Overall, the Liberal National Party (LNP) rated better than Labor and The Greens, getting a tick from the chamber movement on industrial relations and skills policy.
Labor's industrial relations policies and expensive carbon reduction commitments outweighed its record investment in education and skills training, while the Greens failed the small business test in all three areas.
CCIQ Head of Media and Industry, Dan Petrie said key points of difference in industrial relations made it hard for small business not to back the LNP over Labor, given the ALP's policies to raise wages, reverse penalty rates rulings and compel businesses to put casuals onto full-time on request.
"Many of the proposals put forward by Labor are rooted in ideology as opposed to reality, particularly in the area of industrial relations," Mr Petrie said.
"Small business is no longer able to absorb a reversal in penalty rates, another levy or arbitrary imposts. Australia already has the highest minimum wage in the world, and it's just not possible for a café owner to pay a junior worker $60 per hour to serve coffees on the weekend."
A decade of botched energy policy by all parties has denied Australia of power reliability and investment certainty, and cut into the margin of most small businesses as power bills literally doubled in the past seven years.
"No major party has given any commitment to bring about immediate hip pocket relief," Mr Petrie said. "A pragmatic, bi-partisan approach to energy affordability remains as elusive as ever, but the next Federal Government must bring prices down to ensure the country's overall competitiveness."
Labor's massive investment in TAFE and apprentices was welcomed by the chambers, but the lobby groups did make the point that extra funding for this commitment was only available because Labor would tax business people more through family trusts, franking credits, negative gearing and income tax.
"Small to medium sized enterprises have been one voice during this election to let politicians know that small business is a big deal and it is incumbent on policy makers to recognise that the operating environment is incredibly challenging," Mr Petrie said. "Raising wages, taxes and red tape on small business will hurt two million workers who rely on a small business job, not just the business owner."
The scorecard did not comment on One Nation or United Australia Party policies, since these parties currently have no lower-house seats.
CCIQ is an independent advocate for Queensland business. It is not aligned with any political party or group, and its constitution requires the association to advance trade and commerce in a non-politically aligned manner.
To view the results of the report card, please see the link here.
PO Box 3918, Robina Town Centre,
Gold Coast 4230
07 5578 7184