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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11371

Small Business


Mr EVANS (Brisbane) (14:27): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House how our government's economic policies are helping small businesses to grow and prosper, including in my electorate of Brisbane? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative approaches that could harm this prosperity?


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (14:28): I thank the member for Brisbane for his question. He strongly supports the more than 30,000 small businesses across his electorate, understanding that small business is the backbone of the Australian economy. There are 3.3 million small businesses, employing around 70 per cent of the private sector workforce, providing more than $300 billion a year in wages and salaries.

I had the pleasure of last week visiting the member for Brisbane's electorate. Clayfield Seafood Markets have Nick and his 30 staff, including apprentices. He was benefiting from Liberal and National government policy, including the $20,000 instant asset write-off, which enabled him to purchase more equipment for his kitchen. Then there are our tax cuts for 3.3 million small businesses, our $300 million reduction in red tape and our expansion of the employee share ownership scheme to give people a stake in their business's growth story.

The Prime Minister announced a change to payment terms to stop big business or government using small business as a bank. We will be the lead. We will ensure that all invoices under a million dollars will be paid from the government within 20 days. That's our commitment. We're looking for the states to follow suit and we also want big business to do so.

Another major announcement we've made since the parliament has come back today is a $2 billion fund to increase small business access to finance to avoid a market failure and to enable smaller lenders and smaller banks to be able to provide more liquidity and more competitive terms to small business. There is, as well, a business growth fund, which will be absolutely critical in ensuring banks and other lenders can take passive equity stakes in small businesses if that is what the small business wants.

At the end of the day, the Labor Party doesn't care about small business. And you know why? It's because it doesn't have a unionised workforce. That's the reality. The Labor Party ignores small business. We on this side of the House support small business. They are the farmers. They are the professionals. They are the tradespeople. They are the retailers. They are the backbone of the Australian economy. Their philosophical outlook is consistent with the Liberal and National parties' philosophical outlook, and we have put in place policies which ensure that small businesses are growing and employing more Australians.