House debates

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Constituency Statements

Small Business

9:35 am

Photo of Bruce BillsonBruce Billson (Dunkley, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Deputy Speaker Georganas. It was a thrill to be in your state and in your city last week as I was bringing the news of hope, reward, and opportunity for small businesses right across Australia. I must say, they were hungry for some optimism and for some confidence that, if we are able to form government at the next election, there will be a change of strategy and a change in the way in which Canberra respects and values the contribution of small business men and women. I met some small business champions: Carmen Garcia from the seat of Adelaide. What an outstanding individual she is! How well connected is she within her local community! That Adelaide electorate runs through her veins. I met Matt Williams, someone I knew you would be aware of, Deputy Speaker. What an impressive young man he is! He has the ability to make a contribution—to connect with, to articulate for, and to advocate on behalf of the small business men and women in the electorate of Hindmarsh. I also met Tony Pasin, who is down in Barker. He is doing some excellent work there, getting the message out and communicating the importance of agricultural business and the vibrant small business economy in that area of the south-east of South Australia.

What was fascinating, though, was that as we conducted community small business forums and heard firsthand about people's concerns there are many areas where they feel this Labor government has let them down. We heard about how the carbon tax has punished small business and how this government is so disinterested in the plight, the viability and the profitability of small business—all elements crucial in enabling small business men and women to create opportunities, employment prospects and vitality in their economies and their communities. It is crucial stuff. But regarding the carbon tax: this government could not care about its impact on small business. I heard about the impact it has had on so many of those South Australian small businesses. They were concerned, as I am, about how the carbon tax is already causing havoc, already eroding consumer and business confidence, and yet it is set to go up again, by five per cent on 1 July, which will make an already difficult situation even worse. We talked about the impact of the carbon tax being applied to diesel fuel for heavy on-road vehicles in July next year and how that, particularly for those communities relying on road transport, is going to make an already difficult situation worse.

But then we learned about this also. Some 400,000 of our smallest businesses used to get a modest encouragement and some support through the entrepreneurs tax offset. There will be no need to worry about that as people prepare for their taxes this year. Why? This Labor government, in spreading the benefits of the mining boom, abolished the entrepreneurs tax offset. Four hundred thousand of our smallest businesses—our start-ups, our home based businesses, our microbusinesses, our sole traders—are going to be paying more tax than they otherwise had to as a result of Labor's idea of spreading the mining boom. Labor has banked $180 million this financial year and will bank $185 million next financial year. That is $365 million of extra tax gouged out of the engine room of the economy. When they need support, what do they get? More and higher taxes from this government, which does not care a jot about small businesses in this country. (Time expired)