Small business owners wary of pre-poll pledges
Small business chiefs believe the Coalition will form Australia's next government - but they say whichever party rules after September 14, it needs to cut the red tape, onerous taxes and unfavourable super rules that mire their existence.
Fairfax spoke with several small business owners who outlined the pledges they want to hear in the lead-up to the election, but say they are also sceptical that the promises politicians make between now and the election will be kept.
Tristan Sternson, founder and CEO of business intelligence and knowledge management consultancy InfoReady, wants both parties to commit to a promise to reinstate the $50,000 per annum limit on non-concessional super fund contributions. At the moment taxpayers can only contribute $25,000 to their super fund each year before being penalised.
"Payroll tax is another issue for small businesses. I would like to see this reduced or abolished, and more grants and subsidies introduced to support the growth of small to medium businesses," Mr Sternson says.
Ruslan Kogan, founder of discount electronic e-tailer Kogan, says: "I want Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott to reduce the red tape which is hurting Aussie businesses and workers."
Andrew Thomas, managing director of IT consultancy, Thomas Duryea Consulting says: "I'm looking for strong, unwavering leadership that delivers confidence back to the Australian people and in turn our economy."
Tony Fontes, owner of Queensland dive business Diving Careers, wants better protection for the Great Barrier Reef. He's looking for a promise from the Labor Party to protect and maintain the reef "like UNESCO has been asking for".
"UNESCO is threatening to remove the reef's World Heritage listing. That would be a disaster for both the reef and the tourism industry and those of us that depend on the reef for our livelihoods," Mr Fontes says.
If the Coalition gets in, he wants the party to support the carbon and mining taxes. "Close the loopholes of the mining tax so it brings in more money to Australia," Mr Fontes says.
Dean Ramler, founder and CEO of online furniture store Milan Direct says: "I hope [Labor] will not hit Australians with new and higher taxes. I would like to see Mr Abbott assist small business more and look to get rid of a lot of the red tape strangling many a business. Small business is the backbone of the economy and as such, more recognition and support is required."
Mr Fontes says it is "a sad fact" that small business owners have little faith that either party will keep their pre-election promises.