MGA TMA - Your Voice. Representing our industry and your business at federal, state, local and regulator levels. MGA TMA is there, meeting with the decision makers and “making the case” for the sustainability and prosperity of our members' futures.
Summary of Advocacy July 2019 – June 2020
This is a summary and update of advocacy matters and issues MGA TMA has and is currently addressing at Federal and State levels on behalf all members.
MGA tma summary of Advocacy during Covid-19
During this horror period, most MGA TMA members were fortunately able to keep trading. MGA TMA was able to very quickly establish agreement with the federal, state and territory governments that timber and hardware businesses, supermarkets, and packaged liquor retailers should be regarded as essential businesses to stay open for trading to support and serve their local communities.
Early on, in the Covid-19 period – early March – and as businesses began to shut down, including the entire hospitality industry, MGA TMA saw consumers begin to “panic buy” - to levels never seen before in our history.
After 4 months of “shut down” we are now working on the recovery stage – businesses coming out of hibernation.
This will be gradual to ensure the Covid-19 curve stays flat. Part of the small business recovery stage is to ensure all businesses provide Covid-19 SAFE workplaces – MGA TMA has been party to assisting with this strategy for its members.
The Government and MGA TMA has adopted the next stage as being one to Respond Recover and Reform
Since early February MGA TMA’s focus temporarily came away from assisting family and privately owned businesses in the Bushfire effected parts of Australia, to becoming heavily involved with many Federal and State Government Minister and Small Business Commissioner led task forces and business recovery groups.
During this time MGA TMA has been very active representing members with the following business recovery groups which have met and continue to meet on a regular basis via video or tele-conferences.
➢ NSW – Treasury NSW Business Stimulus Task Force
➢ NSW – Minister for Transport Andrew Constance – Covid-19 Transport Plan
➢ Victoria – Small Business Ministers Retail Survival Round Table (P’tax Concessions)
➢ Victoria – Small Business Ministers Commercial and Retail Rent Relief Group
➢ Victoria – State Business Recovery Task Force
➢ Queensland – Small Business Commissioner - Small Business Advisory Council
➢ Queensland – Minister Kate Jones – Covid-19 home delivery strategy
➢ Queensland – Minister Grace Grace re revoking Covid-19 Extended Trading Hours
➢ Queensland – Premier’s Business Recovery Group
➢ South Australia – Treasurer – opposing Covid-19 Workers Comp amendments
➢ WA – Minister Saffioti and Minister Papalia – consultations re food, grocery and household goods supply matters to loca, regional and remote independent supermarkets
➢ Federal – Minister Michaelia Cash & Prime Minister’s Office – consultation - timber and hardware businesses, supermarkets and liquor stores being able to stay open and be regarded as essential.
➢ Federal – ACCC Chairman Rod Sims and Deputy Chairman Mick Keogh re Interim Authorisations and subsequent unfair competition practices by large chains during the pandemic period.
➢ Federal – MGA TMA is a member and Director of Council of Small Business Organisations (COSBOA)
➢ COSBOA meetings included; engaging with Josh Frydenberg – Treasurer, Chris Jordan - ATO Commissioner, Deborah Jenkins - ATO Deputy Commissioner, Sandra Parker - Fair Work Ombudsman, Kate Carnell Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Nev Power – Chairman National Covid Coordination Commission and Senator & Assistant Minister Jane Hume.
Matters - JobKeeper workings and eligibility, JobSeeker, Cashflow Enhancement program (PYG), rental relief, keeping small business open for trade
Covid-19 “Recovery Stage”
The next stage, the “Recovery Stage” will focus on stimulating the reopening of businesses, businesses reengaging their employees, reinvigorating employment growth and driving economic growth. All of this combined with stimulating and reinvigorating the building, home renovation and DIY sectors.
Key themes MGA TMA will pursue include -
Getting the economy going safely
What does a safe workplace look like?
Continue with key messaging – social distancing in the workplace
Small Business Buy Australian & Buy Local
Addressing “Anti Competition” issues (Independents vs Chains) because of shutdown
Identify impediments to doing business - Regulation harmonisation – states and territories - What does the future look like?
Post Covid-19 Industrial Relations Reform
MGA TMA has been advocating the Federal Government strongly for Industrial Relations Reform for the past 10 years. This is vital for Family Business survival!
1. Minimise Wage Increases – FWC - gathering of facts, evidence and data for the Annual Wage Review – to remove wages complexity and minimise any future FWC annual wage increases
Note: In November 2019, MGA TMA researched, surveyed and engaged with over 350-member store owners around Australia (500 stores) to ascertain the impacts of 3 consecutive FWC wages increases on instore employment – 3.5% in 2017, 3.3% in 2018 & 3% in 2019. These 3 increases (9.8%) have added $450m in wages costs to members.
2. Reform IR Laws - Christian Porter, Federal Minister for Industrial Relations and the Attorney General – provide evidence of members’ barriers to employment, increase flexibility and drive for IR reform. Laws must be changed….
a. Minimise risk of unfair dismissals
b. Strengthen FWC triage process of unfair dismissal claims
c. Replace the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) with the No Disadvantage Test
i. No flexibility to create an EBA
ii. Cannot get around the award – it is inflexible, complex and stifling
MGA TMA has been appointed to the Minister for Industrial Relations Reform Working Groups.
There are 5 IR Reform Working Groups; Casuals, Award Flexibility, EBA’s, Greenfields and Compliance and Enforcement.
Minister Porter will chair all 5 working groups
MGA TMA will be an active member of the “Award Flexibility” Working group and will participate in other working groups via consultation
All 5 working groups must deliver IR Reform suggestions for the Minister to complete this project by 30th September 2020 and subsequent delivery to the Parliament at this time
Current Federal matters
Fair Merchant Service Payment Fees - Minister for Small Business Michaelia Cash and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg – re MGA TMA members incurring excessive merchant service payment fees and driving the 4 major banks to introduce Least Cost Routing.
Industrial Relations Reform - Minister for Industrial Relations and Attorney General, Christian Porter – remove complexity, enable flexibility and remove the BOOT test to drive employment growth.
Annual Wage Review – MGA TMA lodged a comprehensive submission comprising facts, evidence and data to persuade the FWC to minimise any wage increase effective 1st July 2020. MGA TMA’s recommendation – 0% increase. The submission was lodged in March 2020. MGA TMA appeared before the FWC to support its submission on 10th June 2020. A decision will be brought down in late June 2020.
Energy costs – constantly working with the federal government to drive for cheaper energy – also working closely with ACCC (The Australian Energy Regulator)
Mental Health for Family and Private businesses – Seeking support from Government to better understand the plight of family and private business owners and their mental health – especially in times of challenge and stress.
Unfair Contract Terms – strengthen contract terms that better protect family and private businesses – lift the contract value threshold to $1m.
Company Tax reductions – fast track to 25% for businesses with less than $50m sales