Media & Speeches

Big and Small Business Combine Forces

The country’s biggest and smallest businesses are joining forces to advance sensible economic reform to drive a new wave of prosperity for Australians.

The Business Council of Australia and the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) will today sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing them to work collaboratively to advance their shared goals.

“Public debate may be dominated by conflict and division, but we understand that it’s a strong and diverse business sector that underpins our society’s wellbeing. This alliance is about problem-solving, not point-scoring,” Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“Businesses breathe life into our towns and cities, employing four-out-of-five working Australians, generating tax revenue that sustains government services, and returning profits to the nation’s shareholders and superannuation funds.

“This country has the capacity to become the most prosperous society in human history. We can be the masters of our own destiny, but that will require a competitive economy that sets the right incentives for businesses to reinvest and grow.

“Behind every successful big business are strong partnerships with local small businesses, and every small business depends on having a growing and prosperous national economy.

“Some of our objectives will need to be worked through with government, but there’s a lot we can achieve simply by working together.”

The Memorandum of Understanding sets out a framework for the Business Council and COSBOA to work together on core issues such as taxation, workplace relations and organising efficient supply chains.

Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business Australia, said: “Often big business will support a small business with resources to help them to develop a product which the big business will sell.

“And if a big business is running a training program, it could include contractors who are small business operators.

“We also have an energy crisis that we need to address, and this is something we need to talk about.

“In any group of people, business or workers, there are always some who will do the wrong thing and this is why we need rules and regulators.

“With the BCA, we want to highlight the good things that business owners do.”

COSBOA represents more than 350,000 small businesses across Australia. The Business Council represents more than 120 of the country’s biggest businesses who together employ one-in-10 of Australian workers.

The memorandum builds on the Business Council and COSBOA’s collaboration on the Australian Supplier Payment Code – a voluntary initiative under which businesses commit to fair payment terms for small business suppliers.

In three months, the Australian Supplier Payment has garnered more than 50 signatories with combined annual revenue totalling more than $383 billion. This includes the biggest names in the banking, mining and aviation sectors.

Mr Strong and Ms Westacott said: “We are urging every organisation that has small business suppliers – from the biggest multinationals to sporting clubs and local councils – to sign the code and demonstrate they support their local small businesses.”

For more information about the code, visit www.supplierpaymentcode.org.au.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the Vodafone National Small Business Summit in Melbourne today.