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Ben covers the property industry and has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and travel writing. He speaks Mandarin and previously covered housing and urban affairs for The Australian Financial Review.

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Award winner Raine & Horne pushes for family business reforms

Published 28 November 2012 05:35, Updated 30 November 2012 04:55

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Award winner Raine & Horne pushes for family business reforms

Angus Raine says family businesses are different from small business because they are often much bigger. They are also often known for their philanthropy and for thinking long term.

Real estate scion Angus Raine has backed calls for greater recognition of the role family businesses play in the economy, saying policymakers need to support the sector in dealing early with succession planning.

His comments add to a chorus of family-owned businesses calling for a dedicated minister for family business and a more accommodating taxation and industrial relations environment, in a federal parliamentary inquiry into the sector.

His fourth-generation real estate group Raine & Horne was last week recognised for its contribution to the economy, by being inducted into industry group Family Business Australia’s hall of fame.

“I think [the inquiry] is long overdue,” Raine tells BRW. “Our voice in the economy is huge and our influence in the economy is enormous, but we’re not properly represented at the state and federal level.”

Unlike many other family businesses, Raine & Horne has finished its succession planning. It was founded by Tom Raine and Joseph Horne in 1883. Raine’s father Max Raine turned it into a franchise in 1976 and oversaw an expansion around the country and overseas. The baton has now been passed to Angus Raine and his three sisters, and Raine says it is crucial for Australia to try to prevent failed succession by better educating the sector to start preparing early.

“It took a long time, it was costly, it took a number of years, and our litmus test that it was successful is we all still have Christmas together,” Raine says.

Raine says family businesses are different from small business because they are often much bigger. They are also often known for their philanthropy and long-term thinking. But he says there is a lot of red tape that businesses like his have to deal with.

“The laws don’t encourage you to employ people, which in turn drives the economy,” Raine says. “A lot of people don’t have a dedicated HR person, and it can be a minefield employing people if you don’t dot your i’s and cross your t’s.”

Changing superannuation regulations are also a headache.

“As soon as you have set something in concrete it pops up and you and have to change everything,” he says.

Other businesses last week inducted into the hall of fame include bedding manufacturer A.H. Beard and events group Doltone House.

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