House debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economy

2:21 pm

Photo of Phillip ThompsonPhillip Thompson (Herbert, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is backing small businesses to help them transition from JobKeeper and to grow and create jobs for our recovery from the COVID-19 recession and beyond?

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question, and I know that he's a tireless advocate for small businesses in his electorate of Herbert in north Queensland. The Morrison government has always backed small businesses and their workers. Of course, through our very targeted and swift economic response to this pandemic, we gave Australian businesses the confidence that they needed to keep going, to keep their doors open, as they worked their way through this very uncertain and challenging time.

Now we're backing them to create more jobs and to create those jobs not just now but also for the future. There's plenty of evidence that our JobMaker plan is working. We've seen a return of almost 90 per cent of the jobs that were lost during the pandemic, and more than half a million businesses employing over two million Australians have graduated off JobKeeper as at the end of December. One of those businesses in the member for Herbert's electorate is Access Therapy Services. They are an occupational therapy business, and the owner, Joanna, has said that without JobKeeper her business would not be here today. The payment was a lifeline, but now they've graduated from JobKeeper, they're back on track and they're very optimistic about their future.

There are stories like this right across Australia—of the recovery that is happening—particularly across our small businesses. But we don't just support businesses in times of crisis; we've supported these businesses throughout the years, and one of the ways we do that is through our Entrepreneurs' Program. That provides services and grants to small businesses. In particular, the business Growth Grant is aimed at supporting businesses to make sure they become more competitive. The results of this program absolutely speak for themselves. On average, a business that is supported through the Entrepreneurs' Program creates 4.4 new jobs and generates over $1.5 million in increased turnover within 12 months. It's practical programs like this that continue to give our small businesses confidence, and, as they come through this pandemic, it's the confidence that they need—confidence in the future, confidence that they will be able to support their workers, confidence that they will be able to sustain their business and confidence that they will be able to grow their business. This government will always support small businesses. We recognise that they are the key to our economic recovery.