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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10284


Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (21:49): I rise tonight to make the House aware that 19 September next week is National Family Business Day. It is the brainchild of Family Business Australia. Family Business Australia hopes this day of celebration will highlight the importance of these businesses as the backbone of the Australian economy. I would like to take this opportunity tonight to stress the importance of this sector and, more broadly, the small business sector as one of the key pillars of our economy.

Aspiring entrepreneurs have always dreamed of owning and operating their own small businesses. But, nowadays, the dream of starting your own business can be overwhelmed with red tape, paperwork and regulation and, more often than not, small business people are giving up their dreams of operating their own business for steady employment as the task of navigating the maze overwhelms them. In the current business environment, small business owners feel like they have had the wind knocked out of them. They have lost confidence and it is about time something was done to restore hope, reward and opportunity for this vital sector of our community.

There is no reward for innovation or entrepreneurship under this government. Statistics from the ABS tell a damning story. Between June 2007 and June 2011, some 800,000 small businesses have left the marketplace—that is, since Labor's election. Furthermore, statistics from Dunn and Bradstreet show that small business start-ups have decreased by 95 per cent. During this time, the Labor government has introduced 18,089 new regulations and only repealed 86, which means that on average 11 new regulations a day have been added. Add to this the cost of doing business like paying rents and wages, purchasing goods and making room for the greatest carbon tax on Earth and it is no wonder small business owners are struggling to continue to keep their doors open. It has been like an eradication exercise in favour of big government, big corporations and big unions versus the little guys.

A paper by the IPA on small business explains the importance of small business from the aspect of economic democracy and draws attention to the following statement made by the Committee for Economic Development in the United States:

Whatever its type or stage of growth, the small business is a manifestation of one of the basic freedoms … This is the freedom to enter or leave business at will, to start small and grow big, to expand, contract or even to fail. This freedom to be enterprising is an aspect of the economic democracy without which our political democracy cannot exist.

The coalition respects the small to medium business sector enough to understand that you cannot tax and regulate them into prosperity. Our plan seeks to strengthen local communities, broaden and boost our economy, and drive prosperity and innovation into the future. It will be driven by lifting productivity.

As National Family Business Day approaches, I would like to conclude tonight's speech by acknowledging some of the local family businesses which I have the privilege of assisting in my electorate. It is worth noting that the family business sector accounts for around 70 per cent of all businesses in Australia and employs 50 per cent of the Australian workforce. I truly appreciate the great family businesses in my electorate—businesses such as Aarons Linen, Merino Country, the famous Yatala Pies, Teys Brothers Abattoirs, A&T Cabinet Makers and Holmwood Highgate. These are just some of the many small businesses employing hundreds of workers in my local community.

The coalition understands that for small business less paperwork means higher profits, boosted sales and more time with the family. We also understand that red tape not only stifles existing business activity but also hinders entrepreneurship and innovation, which create new businesses. Under the coalition, a 'one in, one out' approach to regulation will be a reality, not an aspiration. We will seek to return hope, reward and opportunity to the small business community in Australia. (Time expired)