Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Throsby for his question and for having been such a strong advocate for the 12,800 small businesses in his electorate. He asked me what we have been doing to help small businesses in this country. The first thing we did was to ensure that they did as well as they possibly could when confronted with the global financial crisis. We invested in the economy at a time when private investment was contracting and jobs were at risk. We invested and, as a result of that investment, thousands of small businesses were prevented from hitting the wall—which is what would have happened if those stimulus packages had not been put in place. I remind the House that Tony Abbott and the opposition voted against most of those initiatives.
Those stimulus packages are a major reason for the current state of the economy. We have very low unemployment, we have confined inflation, we have economic growth just under four per cent, our economy has grown by 11 per cent since the global financial crisis and we have a low ratio of debt to GDP—one-tenth of the average for OECD countries.
We also have—and the member for North Sydney should know this—a lower official cash rate than at any time during the Howard years. Indeed, it is less than half what we inherited. It was 6.75 per cent when we came into office. As a result, we now have an environment in which small businesses can not only survive but thrive—not only as a result of the stimulus packages but as a result of specific measures such as the loss carry-back initiative, the instant asset tax write-off and the tripling of the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $19,200. All of these measures will assist small business in this country.
I was asked about other approaches. Today the ANZ released research showing that small business sales in the three months to the end of October were up by 3.6 per cent and that sales for small business for the year have increased by 8.3 per cent. This is fantastic news for small business. We know it does not result from the efforts of Tony Abbott. We know he is not a friend of small business.
He has already said he will oppose the instant asset tax write-off and that he will cut the loss carry-back initiative. He opposed the tax cut and will cut other initiatives this government has put in place for small business. He has no plan for small business and he has no plan for this country. (Time expired)
On a point of order, Madam Speaker: there are only five minutes to go, which is only time for two questions. If it will assist the House, the government is prepared to let the Leader of the Opposition have both of them.