HACCI President Kypraios Calls for More Consultation with Business Leaders of Multicultural Communities

HACCI Chair Fotini Kypraios told a meeting last week between business leaders from multicultural communities and the Australian Ombudsman for Small and Family Businesses that there was a need to consult civil society organizations at the forefront of business when formulating policies that will affect them.

During the meeting with Ombudsman Bruce Billson and community business leaders organized by the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), and leaders of a number of community business organizations, Ms Kypraios also called for active community consultations with Chambers of Commerce and Industry. established community organizations to enable more effective dissemination of information about policies and services.

Ms Kypraios told the meeting that the imposition of policies and regulations, however well-intentioned, did not take into account the costs for entrepreneurs of implementing and ensuring regulatory compliance. She said COVID-19 protocols were an example of rules imposed without regard to the pressure they put on small businesses.

Also attending the meeting were VMC President, Viv Nguyen, who hosted the meeting, VMC Vice President, Bwe Thay, VMC Commissioners Hakan Akyol PSM and Celia Tran, as well as Melbourne Dai Loong Association’s President Eng Lim, Chinatown Precinct Association Inc President Uncle Danny Doon and Faddy Zouki OAM of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, who participated online.

In addition to the pressures and challenges faced by small to medium-sized businesses, participants also discussed issues related to access to information and resources, succession planning and the need for further support.

There were also suggestions that the Ombudsman should advocate a tax reduction strategy for property owners who had provided rental relief to tenants during the pandemic. Businesses found themselves in a post-COVID recovery mode as they cleared a backlog of financial problems, including deferred rent refunds, which were particularly evident in Melbourne’s CBD where business remained sluggish.

Participants suggested that staff shortages, another pressing issue facing businesses, could be solved through changes to visa requirements that would give international students more flexibility to combine their studies and work.

Meeting participants also discussed the creation of a business advisory committee that would consult with policymakers to improve understanding of the impact of government policies on business.

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