(Adopted October 2014)
The Queensland Greens believe that:
1. Small business is an important mainstay of the Queensland economy, employing half of workers in the private sector, supporting their local community and economy, and adapting quickly to new challenges.
2. Traditional classifications of employee and employer may not be appropriate to small businesses.
3. Governments may need to provide additional supports to small businesses to help achieve compliance with commercial and environmental regulations or to overcome times of economic hardship.
4. Work-life balance can be greatly improved for small business owners if proper supports and advice is available to help them meet the varied needs of a business.
5. Government must legislate to protect small business from unfair clauses in contracts with large businesses, e.g. leasing agreements.
6. Onerous government tendering processes distort the amount of time and risk for small business as opposed to large business or multi-national businesses (eg: Professional Indemnity, access to overseas research and development financed through international markets).
7. Small business must be able to access venture capital in the emerging collaborative investment system while investors must have some protective regulations.
The Queensland Greens will:
1. Develop an industrial relations system and work safe commission that specifically understands small business and that is empowered to investigate complaints, provide arbitration and conciliation while ensuring adequate protection of conditions for employees and employers, and of occupational health and safety.
2. Encourage the growth of those small businesses that provide goods, innovative services and employment that does not erode the eco-systems of our planet, underpinning sustainable economies and industries.
3. Ensure small business to gain greater access and increased involvement in government purchasing.
4. Review all current tax and rate imposts on small business in an attempt to assess their impacts on these businesses and make recommendations on changes to these financial imposts.
5. Create incentives for small business’ practices, goods and services to become ecologically sustainable such as energy efficiency, accessing 100% renewable, green audits, and seed funding.
6. Create an independent small business ombudsman office that is empowered to investigate any complaints relating to small business, including government departmental or associated agencies imposts on small business and publicly report those findings annually.
7. Work, including through COAG, to achieve an industrial relations and work safe commission that understands small and home based business needs and concerns, and provides mediation and conciliation while ensuring adequate protection of conditions for employees and employers.
8. Adequately resource small business advisory and resource centres, including website and phone help line services, for small business providing detailed knowledge across a range of issues such as state taxation, legalities, industrial relations, awards, OSH, leases, retirement, succession planning, selling their business, management and governance issues like type of business. Mediation and conciliation services for conflicts within small businesses and family enterprises would be provided through these resource centres.
9. Investigate the feasibility of providing specialised small business legal advisors in community legal centres to give additional resources to small and home-based business to ensure access and advice about contracts, insurances and other legal matters, including those matters that stem from dealing with large business and/or government tendering.
10. Legislate to create a level playing field for small business as we transition to the new economy created under the future Emissions Trading Scheme.
11. Work to increase training opportunities and the take-up of new communications technologies by small business including electronic commerce to help achieve greater business opportunities in a global market.
12. Ensure ministerial representation and Queensland small business concerns are included on a COAG agenda that shape national strategy for taxation reforms, planning infrastructure and telecommunications policy development.
13. Work to establish Queensland-wide networks between small business and the tourism industry, that foster regional communications and the development of commercial strategies that provide employment, training opportunities and sustainable communities.
14. Encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned small businesses, by mentoring supports for marketing and employment opportunities.
15. Encourage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander small business owners' involvement in local chambers of commerce including inputs into all levels of government about issues of concern.
16. Work to facilitate innovation and a start-up culture.
Definition of small business