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Tuesday, 10 September 1996
Page: 3823


Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —Mr Acting Speaker—


Mr Lee —Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order. My point of order is that you called the member for Dawson before she was on her feet.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —She was rising.


Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —My question is directed to the Treasurer. Our small businesses have suffered 13 years of the deficit and debt addicts on the other side of the House. My seat of Dawson is a regional centre and is dependent on small business. Treasurer, what plan do you have to give confidence and incentive to our small businesses?


Mr COSTELLO —I thank the honourable member for her question. I appreciate the fact that she does ask questions about Treasury matters, because you do not get them from the shadow Treasurer—still, he is having clinical treatment for relevance deprivation syndrome.

Mr Acting Speaker, you would be aware that, as part of the budget, the government announced significant improvements for rollover relief for small business in relation to the capital gains tax. The rollover relief will encourage small and medium sized enterprises to continue to expand by increasing the size of their businesses and by allowing the rollover of assets.

The features of the rollover relief announced in the budget are specifically targeted to small business. Rollover relief will be provided where the disposal and acquisition of some or all of the assets are for use in the same or another like kind business; where the proceeds from the disposal of an asset are reinvested within 12 months in the same or a like kind business; and where the taxpayer's total net business assets, including passive and active assets, do not exceed $5 million. Taxpayers will be eligible to claim rollover relief once every five years. This is a long overdue tax reform. After it is introduced, it is expected to relieve small business of up to $150 million in taxation.

To allow sufficient time for consultation with the tax professions and small business on the operation of the measure, the rollover relief provisions will apply from 1 July 1997. The consultation process is already under way.

In addition to that, the government announced provisions to allow small business to rollover their savings into retirement. There are many small business proprietors who invest every dollar they have in their business, and they have the opportunity to use that not only as their livelihood but also as their savings. The relief of capital gains tax will also give them the opportunity to treat their business as part of their retirement planning.

It is clear that these reforms are well overdue. It is clear that they underline a commitment to the small business sector by the coalition government. They are welcome reforms; they will be of strong benefit to small business. It is part of the government's plan to grow small businesses bigger and to create employment and to encourage business in this country.