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Budget week 2019 should create certainty for small business people - will it?

In the world of small business people certainty creates confidence. Confidence underpins a good economy.

We live in an age where change is constant. With change comes risk. With poorly managed change comes uncertainty.

For certainty, as best we can have it in these times, we need the most professional change management processes and to achieve that we need constant risk assessment and risk management.

The best current example of poor change management and resulting negative impact on certainty and culture is the energy crisis. The extremes of climate denial and climate warriors have ignored the maxims of change management – bring others with you – and demanded that their way is the only way. As a result the climate deniers got a lot of what they wanted, no change, and the warriors got problems. As a result a country full of resources and opportunity has unacceptably high power prices and uncertainty about energy, and the environment remains at risk.

This budget and the budget reply must be about the economy. We know that with an election looming that politics will be hot but what is needed is economic leadership.

Besides bad change management, another enemy of certainty is the peddling of false information. At the moment the ACTU is painting a picture of Australia as a failed country, that having a job is a bad outcome and that the majority of Australians are victims of bad businesses and that wages are flat. The truth is very different.

We have one of the highest wages in the world, one of the top three minimum wages, low unemployment and low interest rates, and for the last two years our wages growth (6.8%) has outgrown inflation (4%). The ACTU wants Australians to lack confidence and be unhappy.

There are serious issues to be confronted besides the energy crisis. There are issues around house prices, the low rate of Newstart, lack of services in regional Australia, the complex nature of workplace relations, unpaid superannuation and the gender pay gap among others. There will always be issues to be addressed, that is part of constant change, but peddling false information doesn’t solve problems it just creates more.

The members of COSBOA have been providing leadership – demanding cooperation, seeking constructive solutions with other groups and dialogue with people we might normally ignore. We know that in business if you fail in managing change and fail in managing risk then you will fail. The same applies to economies.

Those old enough will remember the 1970s and 1980s when we had high inflation, high unemployment and high interest rates. Now we have low inflation, low unemployment and low interest rates. We do not want to go back to previous times.

The budget and the budget replies must create confidence.

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