Welcome to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman online community – thinkBIGsmallTALK.

Advocating for small businesses and family enterprises

We recently asked you to let us know which small business issues we should focus our resources on. While our official consultation period has now closed in order for us to produce our forward-work plan, you can continue to use this platform to voice your concerns. Keep an eye on our website where we will shortly publish our advocacy agenda.

How to use thinkBIGsmallTALK

To get started, register and read the moderation guidelines.

Please note thinkBIGsmallTALK is not intended to operate as a forum for raising your business disputes. If you have a matter requiring our assistance, visit www.asbfeo.gov.au/disputesupport or call our Information Line on 1300 650 460.

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General Consultation

Super contributions not included in Adjusted Taxable Income

Concessional contributions (at least up to superannuation guarantee (SG) rate) should not be counted towards adjusted taxable income (ATI).
This will be in line with employees where their employer pays SG of 9.5% or higher if stated in an employment agreement (eg 12%+ for public servants) are not included in their ATI amount.
The current treatment for the self-employed means we pay 15% contributions tax AND have other... more »

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General Consultation

SB&FE Legal Aid

Legal costs can cripple SB&FE, especially very small businesses. Individuals can get legal aid and big business can afford it but small businesses (1-5 staff) can rarely afford either the cash or the time. Cases can last years and it really boils down to being able to afford to "stay in the game". If you can't, you're out.
The major issues being: Lawyers tend to want to be paid upfront (@$250-$500p/h); the business owner... more »

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General Consultation

ABN Registration Issues

The ABR are currently ringing and emailing nearly ever sole trader who has applied for an ABN in the last 6 months. I have had many being cancelled by the judgement of the person on the phone saying they aren't running a business so they cancel it on the spot. I have heard many different lines, such as "you don't have insurance so you aren't running a business" or "you are going door to door so you must be an employee"... more »

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General Consultation

Compulsory Education On Work Ethics

Our education system has not only failed to educate our younger generation with the basics skills of Math and English to prepare them for their working life.
The younger people of today have very little to no knowledge of what is expected of them as an employee or any understanding of basic work ethics.
It should be compulsory education to teach these kids to what is expected of them in the work force.
From an employer’s... more »

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General Consultation

why pay more for utilities and bank/loan interest rates

Why is it that my electricity, gas, water and phone costs me more as a commercial property than if we were residential? Is there a difference in the way it is supplied? My meter is the same as the one at home and am charged in the same format so how can it be justified with the higher cost.
Same with interest rates on loans. Why do I pay more but yet my deposits get the same interest rates and my bank fees are higher.... more »

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General Consultation

Affordable high-speed internet

The internet has enabled many small businesses around the world. My office currently has 0.83Mbps upload and 4.15Mbps download. As an internet business, I need a faster upload speed but this is the fastest affordable connection available to my office. My office is not in a city center and the NBN is not available. 4G is available, but is too unreliable and too expensive for the amount of traffic an internet-enabled... more »

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General Consultation

The past Wrong of Compulsory "Superannuation".

For Australian Businesses to be great again, the wrongs of the past need to be corrected and a good starting point would be with compulsory "Superannuation Guarantee".

Superannuation is an employee’s benefit; therefore the contribution should be deducted from their salary, not paid on top by the employer. The added burden of doing the administration of the super is a big enough load for a business.
The employee’s does... more »

Voting

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General Consultation

dismissing an employee

I have had to dismiss an employee and used the checklist for a small business as set out on the fair work Australia website to the letter. But yet the ex-employee filed an unfair dismissal case and we were forced to a payout and to pay a lawyer to assist us in the case. But here is the best thing, no judgement was given and the no win/no fee lawyer representing the ex-employee couldn't give correct employment legislation... more »

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General Consultation

Kate Carnell - Big business & gov need to pay small biz on time

The article mentions Rio Tinto being slapped down about this. Major global companies like Nestle and Mars unilaterally imposed this payment at the end of the month after 60 days from date of invoice condition years ago.
That means small businesses have to wait more than 90 days from the start of work for smaller consulting activities - and have to complete the work before we can invoice too...

http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/finance/big-business-and-government-need-to-pay-small-businesses-on-time-20160426-gofsl2?eid=email:nnn-13omn621-ret_newsl-membereng:nnn-04%2F11%2F2013-small_business-dom-business-nnn-smh-u&campaign_code=13IBU008&promote_channel=edmail&mbnr=MzI0NzQxMQ... more »

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6 votes
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(@david80) kudos icon +

General Consultation

Non-Compliant Equipment Imports

I am an Australian Company in the food industry that supplies commercial equipment to Bakeries, Patisseries, Restaurants etc. and as such MUST comply to all Australian Safety Standards, Electrical Standards. I also MUST offer spare parts and a warranty as well as back up service to which there is a cost involved to do so. However, in the last 6 years it is a fact that anybody ( Company, Auction House, Internet based... more »

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(@wendyf) kudos icon +

General Consultation

ATO Business Portal

With the ATO pushing for electronic transfer of lodgements, it seems ludicrous that their website be down for maintenance over the entire ANZAC long weekend leading up to the BAS deadline.

Does the ATO not understand that a majority of small business owners use weekends to complete their bookwork? And in particular, a long weekend before the deadline?

I would like to see any future maintenance planned for a less significant... more »

Voting

3 votes
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(@rockstone) kudos icon +

General Consultation

Mike Stone's Idea to increase employment in Micro businesses

As A.C.O.S.S. states that the fed. Min. Wage for a full time employee is a minimum amount to live on-why is it taxed ?.If the Fed. Min. wage was used as the basis for the Tax Free threshold then that would encourage more people to take full time jobs .Most Micro Business owners earn between the $20,000-$80,000 per annum also so it would improve their position.It seems most non- AQF certificated non-skilled people whose... more »

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(@abc123) kudos icon +

General Consultation

Big Builder Vs Subcontractors (small business)

1) Big Builders issue subcontracts that are one sided ie to maintain the interests of the Big Builder only. As a small business we would need to employ a lawyer to go through these contracts to see how to make the contract more fair for us. These contracts are written in legal English so difficult to understand. Unfortunately we don't have the financial resources to do employ a lawyer so we rely on our instincts - so... more »

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5 votes
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General Consultation

GST

I believe GST is killing Australian small business. We should not be tax collectors for the government. We know all the arguments against GST and now it would be interesting to know what level of tax debt is current compared to that before GST. Has GST added revenue to government or not? How many businesses have lost the struggle to keep up with gst payments? Are we shouldering the burden while large businesses find... more »

Voting

3 votes
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(@robertson) kudos icon +

General Consultation

Zero Accounting Fees for SME's in return for Full Transparency

SME's willing to provide full transparency of all bank transactions to the ATO should be (i) provided with free online accounting software that allows them to easily assign each bank transaction to a nominated account (in the books), this in turn will generate the annual accounts (automatic) (ii) annual accounts forwarded to ASIC (automatic) and (iii) annual tax return lodged to the ATO (automatic). Removing the need... more »

Voting

3 votes
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