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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4348


Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (14:50): My question is to the Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation. Will the minister update the House on how unincorporated businesses benefit from the government's strong economic policies? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Mr LAUNDY (ReidMinister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation) (14:50): I thank the member for Wright for his question, and I acknowledge that he, like many on this side, comes from his own business background. He had the courage to put his family's home on the line and start his own family business. He built it up to have some 100 employees before turning his back on it and coming here to this place to represent his constituents. I congratulate him on it.

His question is very important. There are 1.2 million unincorporated businesses in Australia. And what are the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the coalition government doing for them? We have increased the unincorporated tax discount to eight per cent, on its way to 16 per cent by 2026-27. We've changed the definition of an unincorporated small business from $2 million to $5 million in turnover. Sole traders will, of course, receive further tax relief under the coalition's personal income tax plan. Our economic policies have resulted in the best business conditions since 2007 and over a million new jobs. But where, as the Treasurer and Prime Minister mentioned earlier, are they coming from? They're coming predominantly from small and family business.

I'm asked about the risk. If you look at the construction sector alone, 367,000 small businesses operate in this space. Since the coalition came to power in 2013, 35,000 businesses have been started in this sector, employing, of that one million people, 200,000 Australians. In other words, 20 per cent of that one million has happened in small and family businesses in construction. At the moment there is $743.8 billion of projects in this sector, which is exactly why we put the ABCC in place—given the importance of not just the sector but the income and the generation of jobs in the sector. What are the risks to this? The risks are not just the newly emboldened and minted shadow minister for industrial relations, John Setka; they are the ABCC being taken off. This is a lawless place. These unions come in—the CFMEU—and they risk everything that has been created in the last five years. Twenty per cent of that one million jobs are in the construction sector.

That is what's at play here. That is why we must make sure, between now and the next election, we carry this message and this plan and explain it fully. What would it mean to change government at this stage? It would mean a return to lawlessness on building sites. It would put at risk the 367,000 small businesses that live there. It is the opposition leader and his secret deal with his union mates that put at jeopardy everything that the Turnbull coalition government has achieved over the last five years.