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Neil Stott


I had a recent example of where mindless bureaucracy got in the way of common sense.
I applied for an ABN number with the Australian Business Registry as I was starting a new business. Because I had an old ABN number which had been previously cancelled I was encouraged to use this number and have it reopened. I completed the form and submitted and then waited.
After 3 weeks I contacted their help desk and the worker identified 2 issues on my application that needed to be corrected for my application to be approved. He made those changes and the application was right to go. As I was getting close to the time I wanted to start my business I needed my ABN to register my business name as a .com.au domain. I couldn’t register my business name as the system showed my ABN as cancelled. I explained this to the worker who was sympathetic but said these exact words: “Because we do not guarantee that an ABN will be approved in 20 business days and you have 2 more days to go before that time is reached we cannot approve your application!” I asked if there was any further reason my application could not be approved. He said no. He kept saying you will have to wait until the arbitrary 20 business day period is reached and then revisit the website to see if your application has been approved. As a result I cannot register my .com.au domain and get ready for my business start up date! To make matters worse, having reached the 20 business day period and going to the website, the ABR website reports it is offline and has been offline for 24 hrs and I still cannot get an answer if my ABN approved. For any Government which wants to promote its small business supporting credentials, to have the APS work in such an anti-business fashion is just plain stupid.