House debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Questions without Notice

Small Business

2:16 pm

Jerome Laxale (Bennelong, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Small Business. How is the Albanese Labor government delivering for small business owners and employees?

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! Members on my left. The minister will be heard in silence. There is far too much noise on my left.

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to thank the member for Bennelong for his question. He, like many in this place, is a strong advocate for small businesses and supports small businesses in his electorate. Indeed, millions of Australian small businesses are at the heart of our communities, as I've said in this place before, and they, of course, have a $430 billion contribution to our economy each and every year. We know that when small businesses are doing well the economy is doing well and Australians are doing well.

That's why we have taken action to deliver support for small businesses to remain more resilient and competitive. We've updated the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which will mean small businesses get a bigger slice of the $70 billion each year that goes into government tenders, with a target of 20 per cent. Indeed, we've passed the unfair contract legislation—something those opposite talked about for nine years but actually couldn't deliver. It is already through the parliament in less than six months.

Indeed, as part of the budget, we committed to providing $15.1 million for small-business owners across Australia who are having issues with mental health—it's free mental health—and indeed for the debt hotline. This is targeted support—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Moncrieff will cease interjecting.

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

for small businesses that need it—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Groom will cease interjecting. The minister will continue.

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

like that of Claire in my electorate, who I was talking to about the value of these programs. These programs were due to finish at 31 December this year, but we made room in our budget to make sure that these critical programs are continuing. Indeed, we're delivering $62.6 million in energy efficiency grants to eligible small and medium businesses to help them with rising energy costs.

This week we're introducing a bill into the House to implement the Skills and Training Boost and the Technology Investment Boost. These incentives will help small and medium businesses with digital technology adaptation and, indeed, to train their workforce to enhance their digital capacity. They're worth more than $1.5 billion. These measures will be backdated to 29 March to make sure that small businesses can receive the benefits of these.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The manager will cease interjecting.

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

I'll be having a meeting with state and territory business ministers in December of this year, something those opposite didn't do for the nine years they were in government—almost a decade. They couldn't meet with the other ministers to talk about the importance of small businesses—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Leader of the Nationals will cease interjecting. The member for Moncrieff is warned.

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

and how they support small businesses, working with the states and territories.

We are making changes to the industrial relations system, a system that the Council of Small Business Organisations said was inaccessible and intimidating for small businesses. We're making changes because we believe in modernising the workplace and getting wages moving. Small businesses are at the heart of all our decisions, and they'll continue to be so.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I give the call to the Manager of Opposition Business.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

I ask that the minister table the document from which she was reading.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Was the minister reading from a public document?

A confidential document.

2:20 pm

Photo of Tony PasinTony Pasin (Barker, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Small Business. I refer to the minister's previous answer. Can the minister inform the House how many businesses will have to pay between $14,000 and $75,000 under the new industry bargaining system?

Photo of Julie CollinsJulie Collins (Franklin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Small Business) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question. As I said here, more than two million businesses are exempt from this bargaining stream that they're talking about. Seriously, it's 90 per cent of all Australian businesses that are exempt. We expect that most small businesses, as the minister has said, will be in the cooperative stream. Most of them, of course, are already members of employer organisations, so they'll have little or no cost for the bargaining if they choose to opt in. That is the point. That is what they're missing over there. More than two million businesses are exempt from the stream.