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Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Page: 14


Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaMinister for Small Business) (13:04): I thank all the members who have spoken in this debate; it has been a robust one. And it should be a robust one, because small business is important. Small business is absolutely vital to the economy. Whether it is in an area that is remote, regional, rural, suburban or metropolitan—right in the inner heart of our large capital cities—small businesses are vital. They are working each and every day to get on board with helping us to reduce the national debt; they are helping us to employ more Australians and they are making sure that they do the right thing by the economy. And we are doing the right thing by them, by levelling the playing field through section 46: goods and services tax on online purchases; making sure that companies which are trading into Australia and have a turnover of $75,000 are paying GST; unincorporated tax discount—that has been a good move too; the appointment on 11 March last year of Kate Carnell to the position of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. There are those two words in there: 'family enterprise'. There are so many of our small businesses which are mum-and-dad operators—family businesses.

Then there are the unfair contract terms for small businesses; we are getting on board with that. There is the National Innovation and Science Agenda; there are so many things that we are doing for small business. I would urge and encourage anyone out there listening to this debate to search for 'small business'; it will take you straight to business.gov.au, which has so many tips for small businesses on how to create even further opportunities for themselves. Perhaps it is through our trade agreements that we have been able to broker with South Korea, with China and with Japan. Perhaps it is compliance and how we are simplifying the business activity statement from 1 July. Perhaps it is through the instant asset write-off program and how they can take advantage of that up until 30 June this year.

I urge and encourage everybody in this parliament to get on board with making sure that small businesses have the ability to back their own dreams. That is what it is all about. Australia's economy is strong thanks to small business. It is Australia's job to create a small business sector; it is not government. As I said before, 3.2 million small businesses employ 5.5 million Australians. The small business sector makes a huge contribution to our economy. We want small businesses to grow. We want to back them. They take the risks. We want to make sure that those risks are met with a lowering of the company tax rate and are met with all the good policies which are all incorporated and embedded in the Treasury laws amendment.

Small businesses make up 99 per cent of Australian businesses, contributing more than $380 billion to our economy. The federal government backs them. We get behind them through lower taxes, simpler paper work, help to purchase new capital equipment and access to new markets through those fantastic trade agreements that we have been able to manage. We want to keep small business in the driver's seat. Lower taxes enable small businesses to grow, to employ more Australians and to get more customers. This is the start of the Australian government's plan for small business, and those opposite should heed the words of some of their luminaries who in the past said such things as:

If you are against cutting company tax, you are against economic growth. If you are against economic growth, then you are against jobs.

Julia Gillard said that as Prime Minister in March 2012.

Cutting the company income tax rate increases domestic productivity and domestic investment. More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages.

That was said by the member for Maribyrnong. The member for Grayndler said:

… there is also the reform of company tax. We on this side of the chamber believe it should be reduced by two per cent.

He said that in June 2010.

So there we have it: Julia Gillard, the member for Maribyrnong, and the member for Grayndler, all getting behind cutting company tax rates. Then why do not those two aforementioned members who are still in this parliament get behind it now? With that, I move:

That the question be now put.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the question be put.