Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. Could the minister please update the Senate on how the Morrison government is supporting small business and the Australian economy to recover strongly from COVID-19, including through our plan for lower taxes, which is giving Australian households and small businesses more of their money back?
I thank Senator Rennick for his question. In the Morrison government, those of us on this side of the chamber, the one thing we well and truly all agree on is that tax cuts well and truly benefit the economy. We believe that lower taxes are the best way for our economy to thrive. What do they do? They put more money in the pockets of hardworking Australians—and of course that money is the money of those hardworking Australians, so we're really giving it back to them. But we're also putting money back into the pockets of small businesses. As we know, when a small business get a tax cut, they actually invest back into their business, and that's a good thing for all Australians.
Since last July about $9 billion in tax cuts has landed in the pockets of around 8.8 million Australians. This is money that has been returned to them. What has it done? It has boosted household balance sheets. What we've also seen is consumer confidence rise now above pre-pandemic levels. We're not stopping there, though. A further $2 billion per month in tax cuts will flow to Australians between now and the end of September. Why is that? Because the Morrison government believe in giving people back their hard-earned money by way of reducing their taxes. What that also means for small businesses is that, when households are able to keep more of their money—$9 billion is now back in the pockets of families—they are able to go out and support those local businesses. Of course, when you support a local business, you're ultimately supporting jobs, and that's what this government is all about—supporting jobs in the economy.
Wow! That was fantastic. Well done, Senator Cash. What additional support is the government providing to our 3½ million small-business owners as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts?
An opposition senator: Not enough!
I think those on the other side just said, 'Not enough.' Well, guess what? We're providing them with a further tax cut. As you know, Mr President, what we're doing for small business builds on the government's record of reducing taxes for small business, something those on the other side just don't agree with.
An honourable senator interjecting—
We'll get to that shortly. Last year we reduced the small-business company tax rate to 26 per cent. These changes are a part of what the Morrison government is doing to accelerate small-business tax cuts. We also brought forward that tax relief for SMEs by five years. In fact, under the Morrison government, small businesses are paying the lowest company tax rate since 1967. But we're not stopping there. We will now reduce that. The small-business company tax rate will fall to 25 per cent on 1 July, because we know, when you back small business, you back jobs.
Can the minister outline why the Morrison government's strong and effective record of supporting Australia's 3½ million small businesses through tax relief, red-tape reduction and hiring incentives is so critical to our economic recovery as well as any risks that small businesses and their employees face during the next phase of our economic recovery?
Senator Wong interjecting—
I've got to take that very quiet interjection from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Wong: 'Here we go.' You're right, Senator Wong: here we go, because it's important that the Australian people understand exactly what the Labor Party will commit to delivering to them if they are ever elected to office. It's bad enough that they took to the last election a commitment to slug Australians with $387 billion worth of taxes. Colleagues, can you imagine the state of the economy if that had occurred and then COVID-19 had hit? But they didn't stop there. The former Leader of the Opposition has yet again confirmed to the Australian people that, when it comes to lowering taxes, the Labor Party just don't believe there is any point. This is what he said: 'What is the point of giving a tax cut?' Well, I'd ask all those hardworking Australians out there who are benefiting from—
Senator Kitching! All senators know that there is an opportunity to debate the merits of answers after question time. Points of order are not the appropriate time to raise a point of debate. I think, Senator Cash, you had five seconds left. Senator Cash has concluded her answer.