Jason Faint, co-owner of Rocks@lt Bar and Restaurant, feels tangled in red tape.
Jason Faint, co-owner of Rocks@lt Bar and Restaurant, feels tangled in red tape. JEN TYBELL

Cost a burden for businesses

GLADSTONE business owners agree with a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) survey that there was too much red tape, which was costing too much.

Rocks@lt Bar and Restaurant co-owner Jason Faint said what was so frustrating was the legislation and regulations were being written by people who have never had anything to do with the industry, especially in country and regional towns like Gladstone.

He said the penalty rates were unrealistic, with penalties imposed for hospitality’s busiest times. “We are only busy when every other industry is closed,” Mr Faint said.

He said it wasn’t just penalties, but also Occupational Health and Safety matters, for example, having to replace an entire vent system for a kitchen at a cost of at least $20,000, to meet “nit-picking regulations”.

“It’s not our local government’s fault. They are just following guidelines,” Mr Faint said.

Twelve months after the business community’s outcry over red tape and the CCIQ released its Blueprint for Fighting Queensland’s Over-Regulation in 2009, the CCIQ has revealed the government has failed to reduce the burden and has added an additional 7900 pages of legislation.

CCIQ’s latest estimates show state-based red tape now costs the Queensland economy $6.5 billion per year. This is an increase of $780 million since last year.

CCIQ president David Goodwin said the latest results show that the Queensland Government has no real commitment to reducing the cost and burden of doing business in Queensland.

“Every dollar spent on complying with regulation is a dollar not spent on growing Queensland businesses and employing more Queenslanders,” Mr Goodwin said.

Sothertons chartered accountant Judy Reynolds said small business owners were very clearly impacted by the increased red tape as their costs of administration move ever upwards.

“In some cases, additional team members have been employed and in others the owners or team just work longer hours to get it all done,” she said.

“Where the market cannot accept a price increase to pass on these costs, profit margins are eroded and lifestyles impacted.”



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