MURRAY River councillor Tom Weyrich ‘‘nearly choked’’ when he read his council was reaffirming its participation in the NSW Small Business Friendly Council program.
The report went to the ordinary council meeting recently but Cr Weyrich said his council should have highlighted the issues first.
‘‘What we should have said is ‘Look we’re all for something like this but there are many issues that need to be addressed before we can move forward’,’’ he said.
‘‘The stringent manner on how these businesses are policed is over regulation beyond belief.
‘‘Small business is controlled by the Department of Fair Trading in New South Wales. This organisation is stuck in 1950.
‘‘As an example, it takes six to eight weeks to approve a small business.
‘‘It’s simply outrageous that it should take that long for approval to commence a small business in New South Wales.
‘‘Sometimes we’re in direct competition with Victoria and the Consumer Affairs is an organisation that is far more advanced than what we are when it comes to small business.’’
Despite Cr Weyrich’s stance, council reaffirmed its position with a particular interest in the newly introduced ‘Easy to do Business’ program, which will soon be implemented in the area.
It aims to significantly reduce the amount of red tape and accelerate the process of starting up a small business in NSW.
Mayor Chris Bilkey said the program had the potential to remove barriers and obstacles for small business and would run an initial trial area around the opening of cafés, restaurants or small bars.
‘‘For many businesses one of the biggest challenges they face is navigating all the rules and processes and what often starts as an exciting venture is very quickly swamped by bureaucracy and red tape,’’ he said.
‘‘An application process may involve up to 48 different forms, referral to 13 different agencies and calling more than 30 different phone numbers; the program is an avenue to reduce all of this and speed the process up.’’
The program is a joint initiative between Service NSW and the Offices of the NSW Small Business Commissioner, and was initially trialled in larger regional and metropolitan centres before expansion into other local government areas.
“This program’s success in other areas of the state is promising, so we intend to fully throw our support behind this to ensure more people are encouraged to continue with the process of starting a small business,” Cr Bilkey said.