A WA food manufacturer has blamed red tape and regulations for her decision to walk away from the local retail arm of her business to focus on wholesale.
Lyn Bentley, who has built her Sticky Fingers gourmet food business into a $1 million a year enterprise, claims she would rather downsize than expand because of the amount of red tape required to run her bakery business.
She said it was easier to sell her products to hotel chains abroad than to get around requirements necessary to sell through supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
On top of supermarket guidelines, Ms Bentley had to meet regulations set by Australia and New Zealand Food Standards that she claimed were vague and open to interpretation. Local councils added to the regulatory mix with their own set of rules for commercial premises, not to mention State and Federal Government regulations.
Red tape reduction is one of three policy changes being demanded by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the lead-up to the State election this weekend. CCI chief executive James Pearson said more than 50 per cent of WA businesses spend more than $10,000 a year complying with regulations.
An audit in 2009 found WA had more than 63,500 pages of regulation. And two-thirds of businesses surveyed by the CCI found that complying with regulatory requirements prevented business owners from making changes to grow their business.
"Whoever wins the election on Saturday should make it their priority to lift the burden on business owners like Lyn," Mr Pearson said.
"Government must stop thinking that the solution to every problem is more regulation."Both Coles and Woolworths claim they have recently launched programs to make it easier for smaller local suppliers to sell through their chains.
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