Libs aim to reduce red tape and support businesses

REDUCING red tape, a buy local campaign and programs to assist businesses with the tender process were all part of a Liberal Party plan announced yesterday to stimulate the economy and create jobs in the small business sector.

One policy would also require government departments to pay invoices of less than $50,000 within 30 days to prevent financial strain on business.

"We've been advised consistently by businesses that tender for Tasmanian government contracts that they don't get paid on time," opposition small business spokesman Adam Brooks said.

"If business gets paid on time, they can then pay their bills on time. If they don't get paid on time, it has flow-on effects."

Economic Development Minister David O'Byrne said the government had been working on the issue.

"I think overwhelmingly the bills are being paid on time," he said.

A key part of the Liberal plan is to reduce red tape by 20 per cent through the creation of a regulations reduction co- ordinator who would audit government regulations and prepare a report on findings to be presented to the government within six months.

Mr Brooks said the best example of red tape was planning regulations.

"We have 36 of them and we're committed to reducing those to one," he said.

"It costs Tasmanian business $1.3 billion just to struggle its way through the red and green tape."

Mr O'Byrne responded by saying another bureaucrat was not the answer.

"We have been working with small business in Tasmania for a number of years and we don't believe the appointment of a bureaucrat will necessarily change their future," Mr O'Byrne said.

"What will change their future is building the Tasmanian economy in a strategic way."

The plan also included a "local benefits test" to be applied to government purchasing decisions to ensure that community and social benefits were taken into account, and also a program to assist businesses to operate online.

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