House debates

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


Brisbane Electorate: Small Business

7:54 pm

Photo of Trevor EvansTrevor Evans (Brisbane, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There are more than 30,000 small businesses in the electorate of Brisbane, many of them small, family-run businesses. I've spoken about them here before many times because they are the heart of our community, as well as being the backbone of our economy.

Coming from a small-business family myself—indeed, growing up on the shop floor of family businesses and working so closely with the retail and small-business sectors when I was with the National Retail Association—I know just how hard it is that small businesses work and what they put at risk to create the prosperity and the jobs we need to encourage here in Australia. And it is small businesses that create the majority of the jobs, especially in our local communities, driving the innovation, the growth and the prosperity that we want to see for future generations.

Most Australians who work in the private sector work in small businesses. As I said, those small-business owners take the risks and provide the capital that, in turn, benefits literally millions of families across our nation—seven million families, I understand. That's why our government continues to work so hard on fostering an environment that supports those small businesses by growing confidence and by

encouraging investment to help them create the next job in our local communities. And, despite opposition, quite often from those opposite, the coalition has provided a strong track record in this term of office for small businesses, including tax relief. The tax rate of small businesses has come down to 27½ per cent, and it will fall further to 25 per cent by 2021-22. Of course, the unincorporated small-business tax discount will also increase to 16 per cent in that same time frame.

I was very pleased to have the Treasurer come to visit Brisbane last week and to talk to many small businesses in our community. I took him to a couple of very typical small businesses, including the Clayfield Seafood Markets, to show how local businesses are really benefitting in practice from the government's strong economic management and the policies that we implement to support small businesses. We saw how they're using our policies to create those new jobs we want to see. The owner there, Nick, now employs 28 people, and he told us that he'd been able to use government policies, including the instant asset write-off extension, to invest in new grills, range hoods and refrigeration and a new kitchen so that he can ramp up his staff in peak times to double what it used to be to ensure that all of those new local jobs are created and, of course, ultimately, to ensure that the Brisbane community enjoys his excellent and, indeed, award-winning local seafood.

We also had a local small-business roundtable with the Treasurer at Racecourse Road, where many of the small businesses right along that shopping strip came along and asked questions, and some, indeed, did raise their deep concerns about what Labor's high-tax policies would mean in the future for their businesses and livelihoods were Labor ever to occupy this side of the chamber. The Treasurer outlined three important new policies that the government has recently announced to further help small businesses like theirs.

Firstly, we're trying to improve their cashflow by making sure that small businesses get paid on time. For some small businesses I talked to, improving cashflow and payment terms is their No. 1 priority. Now we've committed to ensure the government pays all invoices of up to $1 million within 20 days. We're also putting pressure on the state and territory governments to match that, and, in turn, we'll be pressuring big businesses to match that if they want to keep getting government contracts.

Secondly, we had another recent big win when it came to red tape. We've streamlined GST reporting, which will mean the average small business saves about $590 every year, which is no small measure for many small businesses, and of course we need ongoing vigilance when it comes to monitoring the ongoing creep of unnecessary regulation.

Thirdly, very importantly, the Treasurer announced that we're helping small businesses to access finance through a $2 billion securitisation fund. All of us know that finance is getting very difficult for some small businesses to access at the moment, and essentially Australia has a thin securitisation market, meaning that, while the big banks can have access to securitisation, the small-bank lenders and the mutuals often can't, which means that small businesses are finding it harder to access finance right across the banking sector, or they face higher funding costs or, alternatively, they have to put their house up as security when they otherwise wouldn't have to. So there are three big new announcements there about our ongoing support for small business and some very critical areas around red tape, access to finance and payment terms.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

It being 8 pm, the House stands adjourned until 9.30 am tomorrow.

House adjourned at 20:00