Support for Small Businesses

Tasmania’s small and medium sized businesses are the engine room of the State’s economy.  Over 37,000 sole traders and partnerships operate, keeping many Tasmanians in work, across all sectors of the economy.

Labor understands that being in business is sometimes tough.  For small business owners, the work behind the scenes continues well after the shop is closed or the workers have gone home.

Over the last few years a range of red tape costs have been levied on small businesses.

Labor wants to help small businesses, particularly in regional and remote areas to be compliant with statutory requirements. For example, Labor understands that trade waste compliance is a matter of concern for small to medium businesses in Tasmania, particularly in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.

Around 1,500 businesses are facing upfront costs of between $2000 and $30,000 to comply with environmental regulations.

Trade waste compliance is important to mitigate against odour issues and spillages at treatment plants but Labor recognises that some businesses face challenges in meeting the upfront costs of infrastructure upgrades.

Other issues include provision of disability access to premises under the Disability Discrimination Act as well as compliance with the Building Code of Australia.

A Majority Labor Government will provide grants to small and medium businesses to cover up to half the cost of solving these unique and site specific problems.

The grants program will be competitive, with an initial focus and priority on the installation of grease traps and other waste management solutions.

Applications for other works that are required to satisfy statutory operating requirements will be accepted until the grants have been fully allotted.

The requirement to install pre-treatment devices is placed on the owner of a property utilising TasWater’s trade waste service.

Devices range from small items such as screens and basket arrestors to capture solids and food waste through to grease arrestor traps to capture fats, oils and grease from food preparation. Oil water separators are a common requirement for automotive repair and service stations to prevent oil and petroleum products from entering the sewer.

Affected businesses include takeaway outlets and restaurants, hotels, service stations, laundromats, hairdressers and car washes. They also include not-for-profit entities like community clubs.

We will work constructively with TasWater and affected trade waste customers to identify the lowest cost solutions, tailored to individual circumstances.

Under Labor’s policy:

  • The deadline for new trade waste systems to be installed should be extended by a further 12 months to allow a total of two and a half years for the identification of appropriate solutions, application for assistance and installation.
  • In order to be eligible for grants, businesses must be registered in Tasmania.
  • Businesses that cease trading within three years will be required to repay any assistance.

It is disappointing that the Liberal Government has refused to help small and medium sized businesses because its politically motivated TasWater takeover was unsuccessful.

Labor’s opposition to the TasWater takeover does not mean there are not challenges the business needs to confront and practices that need to be improved.

While the Liberals have been playing politics, Labor has been working with TasWater, owner councils and affected businesses to resolve the trade waste issue.

$5 million