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What is the role of business associations in the modern world?

By Peter Strong, CEO, Council of Small Business Australia

Business associations have been around for more than a millennium and have become an integral part of the Australian business community and economy. Even in Roman days there was an Association of Long Distance Shippers called corpus naviculariorum

But what is the role and relevance of associations in 2017? 

Modern associations want positive outcomes; we need support and development for our members that creates a community of fairness and opportunity.

Individual associations and business councils aim to ensure that: legislation and policies are user friendly for members; regulators do a professional job and show respect for all business people particularly those who do the right thing, even when the right thing is often difficult. Associations promote the differing needs of particular industry groups – ensuring they are considered during policy development and that communications by Government and others with business people is easy to understand. 

The areas where associations spend a lot of time are workplace relations, competition policy, licensing and accreditation, skill development and training, corporate law and safety.

In August, the Vodafone National Small Business Summit, Australia’s premier small business policy event will see three industry leaders discuss the role of business associations in the modern world. Sandy Chong, CEO, the Australian Hairdressing Council will highlight her council’s approach to the proliferation of backyard hair dressers, their impact on industry reputation and the role of associations to support accreditation, compliance and business success. John Hart, recently retired ex-CEO, Restaurant and Catering Association will share what associations must do to remain relevant and valid and continue to survive when many question why they should join an association. Finally, Julie Owens MP, Federal Labor Member for Parramatta, will share insights from all sides of the fence – business, association and of course politics. What does a Labor politician think is the future of business associations? Prior to joining Parliament, Julie ran her own businesses and head of The Association of Australian Independent Record Labels (AIR). 

Have your say in the future of small business for your association by attending the Vodafone National Small Business Summit: register now!

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