Tuesday, 10 August 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to a fellow Western Australian, the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. Can the minister advise the Senate how this government's plan is delivering an economic framework to help small and family businesses grow, prosper and create jobs as we chart our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I thank Senator Small for the question and acknowledge that, obviously, as a small business owner, Senator Small, like those of us on the government side of the chamber, knows that governments put in place economic frameworks that can assist business in prospering and growing and creating more jobs for Australians, and certainly Senator Small has been successful in employing a number of Australians back at home in Western Australia.
In terms of the economic framework to assist businesses to prosper, to grow and to create more jobs, that is exactly how the Morrison government approached the recent 2021-22 budget, with the Minister for Finance, the Treasurer and the Prime Minister delivering a budget that puts in place the policies that well and truly back Australia's 3.5 million small and family businesses. Our economic measures are all about giving businesses the confidence to invest and to take on a new staff member but also to get back to doing what they do best if they've been affected by COVID-19. We're investing $7.2 million to improve and maintain a new Employment Contract Tool, making it easier for small businesses to take on that new staff member but, at the same time, meet all of their obligations. We're also expanding Digital Solutions with an investment of $12.7 million, which will support an additional 10,000 businesses to improve their digital capability and further encourage uptake of digital technology in small businesses, because what has COVID-19 in particular taught us? It's that businesses do need to have that digital capability. Of course, on the government side of the chamber, we understand that red tape strangles business, and that's why we are continuing to back in our deregulation agenda with $134.6 million being invested to make measures easier, to make it easier to employ people, and to reduce the regulatory burden for businesses of interacting with the government.
The 2021-22 budget is continuing to support businesses to keep more of what they earn. Through measures that we are implementing, such as the temporary full expensing and the loss carry-back arrangements, we are delivering a further $20.7 billion in tax relief to Australian businesses that back themselves and invest in their future. What we also note is that the initial round of business tax incentives has been highly effective. Machinery and equipment investment has been growing at its fastest rate in seven years. What you see is that businesses who have that capacity are out there, and they're utilising the policies that the government is putting in place to back themselves and to invest back into their businesses. This means that the local cafe, the local construction company and even the local plumber have been able to utilise the policies that the Morrison government has put in place to reinvest in themselves, prosper, grow and—what we're all about—create more jobs for Australians.
The Morrison government's plan to secure Australia's recovery, of course, means keeping taxes low. On the Morrison government's side of the chamber, lowering taxes is in our DNA. Certainly, when you look at the estimated $320 billion worth of investment that is expected to be supported by our business tax incentives and create 60,000 jobs by the end of 2022-23, we understand that, by keeping taxes low and helping businesses keep more of what they earn—after all, it is their money; they've earnt their money—we can continue to secure our economic recovery into the future.
I think one of the key contrasts between the Liberal-National government and those on the Labor side is obviously when it comes to lower taxes. We did not take, as an election policy, to the last election $387 billion in higher taxes. That's the gift that the Labor Party would have given the Australian people: $387 billion in higher taxes.