House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Questions without Notice

Small Business

2:18 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer explain to the House how the Australian Business Growth Fund and other initiatives are helping small businesses in creating certainty and stability for the future, including my electorate of Forde?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Forde for his question and acknowledge his extensive experience running his own small business, in financial services, before he came to this place and backing more than 17,000 small businesses across his electorate—like Lynda who runs Poppy's Chocolate in Beenleigh. On this side of the House we're upholding and supporting the words, the values, the principles of our party's founder, Sir Robert Menzies. When he talked about the strivers, the planners, the ambitious ones being small business they were the skilled artisans, they were the shopkeepers, they were the farmers. They were the people who formed the backbone of our economy and, indeed, the backbone of our society. The coalition has announced that we will be establishing a $540 million Business Growth Fund. Now, this will have a contribution from the Commonwealth as well as the major banks and HSBC, and today I can inform the House that Macquarie Bank will also be part of the Business Growth Fund, with an additional $20 million.

This money will be patient and passive capital. It will be an equity stake in small- and medium-sized businesses. Between $5 million and $15 million will be contributed to businesses that have a turnover of between $2 million and $100 million. It's based on a successful model in both the United Kingdom and in Canada. It's an alternative for businesses seeking to grow, innovate, invest and hire more people by borrowing more money from the bank. This is about an equity injection, as opposed to increasing debt.

It builds on the other initiatives that we have announced, backing small business: bringing forward tax cuts down to 25 per cent for small businesses and medium-sized businesses, and ensuring that we're cutting red tape, particularly for food exporters and those small microbusinesses that are employing their first person. It's ensuring that small businesses are getting paid on time. We've established within the AAT a separate Small Business Taxation Division. We have set up a $2 billion securitisation fund to boost liquidity in the markets and to boost lending to small businesses. And in this year's budget, we extended the instant asset write-off, which is being used by hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the country, to $30,000.

But I'm asked, are there any alternative approaches? We, on this side of the House, took to the Australian people lower taxes for millions of Australians. But those opposite took a plan of $387 billion, which included higher taxes on family businesses. I hear junior Sir Tax-a-lot over there—

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

No! The Treasurer will refer to members by their correct titles.

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

The reality is that we on this side of the House will always stand for lower taxes and supporting small business.

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

The Treasurer's time has concluded.