Motion | Small Business

Monday, 20 March 2017

Salary earners, shopkeepers, skilled artisans, professional men and women, and farmers: these are the decent hardworking Australians Robert Menzies had in mind when he made his Forgotten People speech in 1942 and, shortly after, founded the modern Liberal Party in 1944. Owner-operators, family and small businesses are the powerhouse of Australia's economy and the Turnbull government has their best interests at heart.

Supporting small businesses helps grow the economy and benefits all Australians. There are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia. We are backing these small businesses because it is these businesses that create the jobs and opportunities hardworking Australians deserve and need. It is these businesses that keep our economy and our nation strong.

In Boothby we have 9,270 small businesses and they are experiencing the very real benefits of this government's policies. We have cut their taxes to the lowest level in 50 years and are stimulating economic growth. We have cut red and green tape to the tune of $5.8 billion because we know that unnecessary paperwork is a huge burden for small business. We have ensured there is a whole-of-government approach to reducing the reporting burden on business, simplifying BAS and embracing technology consistent with the government's digital transformation agenda. We are allowing businesses to reinvest in themselves and their workforce with a $20,000 instant asset write-off program that helps hardworking Australians build their businesses, and supports other local businesses that they buy from.

In terms of agriculture, I have one of the world's premier agricultural and viticultural research institutes in my electorate: Adelaide University's Waite Research Institute. I also come from a long line of family farmers, so I am very interested in how the Turnbull government is also supporting hardworking farmers. The agricultural white paper is a $4 billion investment in our farmers. It is helping them get better returns at the farm gate through free trade agreements, export deals, better regulation and an improved tax system. Our Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell AO, is giving small businesses a voice and specialised assistance. Through the Small Business Advisory Service and business.gov.au, we are giving small businesses and family enterprises a hand-up with low-cost advisory services, as well as information on starting, running and growing a business.

I extend my very sincere thanks to the Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack, who visited my electorate of Boothby in February with representatives from the ACCC and ATO and with Kate Carnell to speak with businesses directly. The minister's small business roadshows are a huge hit with local businesses that are enthusiastic about the opportunity to have their questions answered and their opinions heard. I am grateful to my hardworking business owners locally, like Ben and Marika at Mitcham Newsagency, Jeff at Banana Boys, Michael at the Hub Shoe Repairs, Troy at the Edge Deli, and Rose, George and Haefa at the Middle Store, for letting me know on a regular basis about the issues that are important to them and to their businesses.

Listening to our businesses has never been more important than right now in South Australia. The biggest issue at the roadshow and when I am out and about in the electorate is by far the affordability and reliability of power supply. With the highest power prices in Australia, many businesses are at risk of reducing their staff numbers,passing on higher costs to customers or, worse, closing. Businesses are investing in power-saving technology and generators. They are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars that they should be investing in growing their business or employing more staff, because state Labor cannot keep the power on and cannot keep the lights on.

The contrast between us and those opposite could not be more stark. While federally the coalition supports those who keep the economy going, Labor just makes doing business harder. While federally we have the lowest
taxes in 50 years, in South Australia state Labor has us paying the highest taxes and charges in the nation.It is not just businesses that suffer under these conditions; my home state has the highest unemployment and underemployment in Australia. For our community, which is already struggling after 15 years of state Labor, each and every job loss is a blow that our economy cannot handle. While Premier Jay Weatherill pulls stunts on the national stage, people are hurting. There can be no better example of why we must support small businesses, and why we are, than what state Labor has done to our economy. I congratulate the Turnbull government on all that we are doing for small businesses and family businesses. I commend the motion to the House.