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Small Business Ministerial Council in Christchurch

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for Small Business

22 May 2008 Media Statement

Small Business Ministerial Council meets on trans-Tasman issues in Christchurch tomorrow

Climate change, regulatory reforms and improving the ease of doing business are key agenda items for the Small Business Ministerial Council meeting in Christchurch tomorrow, says the Small Business Minister Clayton Cosgrove.

It is the first time that New Zealand has hosted the Small Business Ministerial Council (SBMC), which comprises Ministers directly responsible for small business policy in the Australian federal, state and territorial governments and the New Zealand government. Mr Cosgrove will be chairing the meeting.

Mr Cosgrove said the forum provides a valuable opportunity for Ministers to discuss the national and trans-Tasman issues facing small businesses in both countries. He said the mutual goal is to make it easier for business to grow and operate with fewer barriers.

"Our economic future is dependent on globally-competitive firms and Australia offers a lot of our businesses their first opportunity to enter an export market."

The Council will this year discuss the creation of a single system of Australian Business numbers. This will save new businesses the cost of having to register in each Australian state separately. Mr Cosgrove said this was an important issue for New Zealand small businesses. "A move to a single Australian-wide registration and business name system would reduce the compliance costs for New Zealand small businesses entering Australian markets."

Mr Cosgrove said New Zealand businesses already benefit from an open business environment that is the envy of the world, but improvements can always be made.
“We maintained our second place ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business survey last year, and this year we are in a strong position to compete for the top spot thanks to the excellent work achieved on the tax application and GST registration service with the Companies Office.”

Mr Cosgrove said that achievement was due in part to the close working relationship and mutual recognition agreements between New Zealand and Australia that are worked through in forums such as the SBMC.

Small businesses comprise 97 percent of all businesses in both New Zealand and Australia. The SBMC was established in 1999 and meets annually. Next year it will meet in Darwin.


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