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Thursday, 12 March 2009
Page: 2565

Mr JOHNSON (9:36 AM) —In the Australian parliament today I want to speak about something that is very close to my heart, and that is job security and the promotion of jobs in the Ryan electorate. Associated with that, of course, is going in to bat for small- and medium-sized businesses. I want to raise two issues in the parliament today that I think can help job security and that can foster greater economic activity within the Ryan jobs market. The first is to fly very proudly and very strongly the opposition’s policy in relation to the superannuation guarantee levy, which would help small businesses. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics definition, a small business is one that has 20 or fewer employees. I should say at the outset that all of us in the coalition acknowledge very strongly and very proudly that small- and medium-sized businesses really are the heart and soul of our country’s economic activity. They are the backbone of our country. They provide jobs for millions of Australians and we must do all we can to assist them and to promote their success.

The important policy announcement by the federal Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, about how governments can help small businesses in relation to the superannuation guarantee levy is that we can for the next two years assist small businesses by covering their superannuation guarantee commitments. I think that is very important because, firstly, it will help with cash flow and, secondly, it will reduce the cost of employment to small- and medium-sized businesses. What would the impact of that be? Clearly the impact would be to contribute to job security. I know the small businesses in the Ryan electorate, who employ many people, would be very confident in its success.

The second thing I want to raise very strongly is my support for the position of the Queensland Leader of the Opposition on payroll tax. On Saturday, 21 March Queenslanders will go to the polls, and after nearly two decades of uninterrupted Labor rule at the state level I think it is time for Queenslanders to have a new, fresh and dynamic leadership in the form of Lawrence Springborg and his LNP team. One of the very strong policies that he has advocated to the business community is the cutting of payroll tax. I would like to quote what Mr Springborg said in a speech to the business community in Brisbane:

If a business maintains its staff at current levels throughout the financial year, that business will receive a 10 per cent increase in its tax free threshold as a rebate at the end of the year.

In addition … businesses with a payroll at the bottom end of the $1 million to $5 million range will be able to employ two extra people …

That is a very important policy. (Time expired)