House debates

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Matters of Public Importance

Economy

4:27 pm

Photo of Teresa GambaroTeresa Gambaro (Brisbane, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Settlement) Share this | Hansard source

No, they have two. We can count with our hands how many former small business people are on the opposite side, whereas over here we really understand what small business is about. If you have ever run a small business, which I have done in my career, you will know the government has created three taxes and increased many others. What have they done in the last few months? They have brought in a flood tax, a flood levy which will affect businesses, they have brought in a carbon tax and they have brought in a mining resource rent tax. When they are in trouble, the first thing they do is tax small business. They have their heart on their sleeve about how they are for small business and how they care about small business, but all they do is tax them to death.

Let us talk about some of these particular taxes. I am glad that the member for Fowler talked earlier about when the GST came in. One of the things that the then government did with that tax was to consult widely. I know because I was sitting on the government side of the House when it happened. We consulted widely. We funded organisations and chambers of commerce to fully inform the business community and to provide them with all the information they possibly could. Anyone running a small business knows that the last thing you do when you are in government is to put another tax on them, particularly in the economic climate that we have at the moment. I was running a retail business up until a year and a half ago, when I came back into the parliament. Can I tell you some of the things that happened in my very humble business. I was a humble fishmonger, running a humble fishmonger's business. Can I tell you what your state colleagues did to my humble business: they put up my electricity by 50 per cent. Electricity went up 50 per cent in one quarter. That is after the land tax went up, and I could go on and on and on.

Government members interjecting

When I stand here and listen to the members opposite, they somehow say—and they are disingenuous in this when they say it—that small businesses do not have to pay for the super; they link it to the mining resource tax. Can I tell you that businesses pay for superannuation. I used to do the wages and I know how that works: businesses pay for superannuation. Let us put that on the table: businesses pay for superannuation. To say that businesses will not have to pay for superannuation is an absolute fallacy. With the company tax rate that is going to be reduced—they played that out—let me just put that on the table as well: most of the businesses in Australia are not incorporated, and they will not even receive the one per cent. All those opposite are doing is taxing business more and more and adding to the difficulty of running a small business.

It is absolutely extraordinary when I listen to the people opposite. They have absolutely no idea of what is involved in running a small business. The members' contributions last night were outstanding to listen to—all this will do is increase and cause an impost to small business. When I listen to some of the members opposite talking about their consultation process, the consultations that have occurred have just been absolutely appalling. They talked to three large miners and did very little about consulting with the other members of the mining sector. They should stand condemned for their lack of consultation.

They have no idea how to run a small business; all they are doing is taxing small business out of existence. It is already a tough time at the moment. Most businesses are doing it tough. I visited a local newsagent in a neighbourhood that I did not think would have difficulty, but they are doing it tough everywhere and they are all complaining about the economic conditions. All those opposite are doing is making it harder and harder for small businesses to survive.

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