It is a great pleasure to speak again on this bill, with the amendments included. As a former small business owner of 10 years I know the benefits and joys of being in business, but I also know that it can be onerous at times, particularly with red tape and regulation. Prior to this bill being introduced, each state and territory had a different requirement for businesses to register.
In this era of federalism, under a national system in Australia, it is completely ludicrous that any business, particularly small and micro businesses, should have to incur the cost of registering their business name in each state and territory, particularly given that the costs vary in each state and territory. The cost in Canberra was, I think, $130 to get my business registered for five years or something, and in Victoria it was $70 for three years. It is not just the difference in the cost between the states and territories; it is also the difference in the time span in terms of how long you have the business registration name. The difficulty with that too is that you have to be constantly aware of when these things expire as well as try to find this extra money— another imposition on business. As my colleague has mentioned, this government has done a great deal for small business and this is another way of harmonising and reducing the burden of red tape for small business. I do commend the government for introducing a range of measures to harmonise the management of businesses in Australia, and this is one of them.
The purpose of this bill is to clarify that the consequential amendments to other Commonwealth acts made under the Business Names Registration Bill will not apply until the National Business Names Registration System commences. The legislation was drafted so that most of the consequential amendments will commence on the same day prior to the commencement of the National Business Names Registration System. The policy intention is for most of the consequential amendments to commence on the day that the national system commences, with the transitional provisions commencing earlier. The consequential amendments are to a number of other Commonwealth acts that commence around two months before the commencement of the National Business Names Registration System. Given that these amendments give effect to activities under the national system, it would be impractical for them to commence before the system actually begins.
The application bill has been drafted as a separate bill dealing with the application of provisions rather than attempting to amend the commencement table in the transitional bill. The new application provisions are set out in a separate piece of legislation rather than in the transitional bill itself. They do not directly amend the text of the transitional bill but just clarify when and how certain provisions in that bill will apply.
We as a government are very keen to ensure that businesses—small businesses, micro businesses—can succeed. We have introduced a range of measures that will reduce company tax and provide small businesses with instant asset write-offs and improve the amount that they can actually write off over a tax year. This is just another measure that will reduce regulation and red tape for businesses. It will make it easier for Australians to succeed in business, to manage their business, to administer their business and, hopefully, to increase their productivity and the success of their business. I commend this bill. It is in the tradition of Labor reform in the small business sector and the micro business sector. As I said, having had my own small business, it can become pretty tiresome filling out endless forms, and having to do it in each state and territory in order to run a business across the nation— to trade in different parts of the nation—is completely ludicrous. I welcome this bill and the amendments to it.