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Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Page: 741


WYATT ROY (Longman) (21:15): I am delighted to advise the House that since the 7 September federal election businesses in my local region have been reporting a lift in confidence. Our nation is under new management and confidence is up. It is undoubtedly a response to the new dawn of competent, stable and methodical government—a coalition government with its hands on the wheel. With the parliamentary program of this government now active, including the repeal of the carbon tax and our plan to slash $1 billion in red tape every year, local businesses and householders have good reason for their optimism.

Our commitment to small business is unshakable because this government knows and understands it to be the engine room of our economy. ABS retail sales figures released earlier this month bear witness to improved conditions. The statistics confirmed a 0.8 per cent lift in national spending in September, the biggest monthly rise since February. Quarterly trade was also above market expectations, up 0.7 per cent. In fact, LJ Hooker Caboolture-Morayfield principal, Steve Hay, told my office that he had experienced a record September-October with 55 sales. 'We did $5 million in sales in September and we hadn't done a month like that since November 2011.' Steve said, 'We sold 31 properties in October, or one a day, totalling $9 million.' Steve said he believed that the coalition election victory had revived consumer confidence. 'We noticed the change pretty much straightaway.' He said, 'There's a lot more buyers and more confidence because everyone thinks we're past the doom and gloom of the Labor government.'

Caboolture Sports Club also posted a stronger September-October compared to last year. Mr Kelvin Patch, the CEO of the club, said turnover typically spiked with a rise in disposable income. 'Confidence is up,' he said. 'So people are spending more instead of putting it away for a rainy day.' Atlas Heavy Engineering managing director, Rex Vegt, told me the Narangba company, which makes excavator buckets and other attachments for the earthmoving industry, had clinched a $750,000 sale of around 100 components a few weeks ago. He said, 'That was our biggest single order in the history of the company. Our attachments go into the domestic earthmoving market, up to 45-tonne machines which do housing estates and roads,' he said. 'So if there's a pick-up in the housing market, we see it too.' Rex went on and he said: 'Tony Abbott has said he's going to be the Infrastructure Prime Minister and that's injected a certain amount of confidence in the marketplace. Everyone's expecting a lift, which I think will really hit about April next year.'

It goes on. Morayfield Smash Repairs owner Ryan Anderson said his 21-employee enterprise was extremely busy. 'Up to the election, everyone was scared to pull any money out of their pocket,' Ryan said. 'But since, it definitely has picked up.' It is early days yet and the government has work to do to clean up Labor's legacy of budgetary chaos and excess.

As well as getting rid of the carbon tax and at least $1 billion a year in senseless paperwork and compliance costs, the coalition, in its resolve to support small business, will reduce the company tax rate by 1.5 per cent to 28.5 per cent. We will undertake an independent root-and-branch review of the competition framework. We will extend unfair contract protections for small business. We will defer by two years the increase in compulsory employer funded superannuation. We will help small businesses attract good workers by providing their employees with access to the coalition's landmark paid parental leave scheme. We will remove from small business the requirement to administer the government's paid parental leave scheme. We will protect the rights of independent contractors and the self-employed. We will improve small business access to government contracts. And we will work with the financial sector to improve access to small business finance.

Small business is the backbone of our community. I hope that, tonight, hearing the positive testimony of these hardworking locals will buoy all who sit in this place and care about seeing the Australian economy return to its rightful position of strength, stability and pride. We do have some way to go, but under this coalition government the job is well and truly underway.