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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1838

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (09:45): I rise to speak about small business in Australia. I would like to endorse the member for Page's comments on this subject. We made an election promise that we are open for business. We must follow this up and make small business our No. 1 priority for the Australian economy and for Australian families who are involved in small business. Small business is big business in Australia. We employ the most people—about seven million Australians work in small business. There are many issues and I will be working with the Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, who is a very capable minister. I look forward to working closely with Bruce Billson over the next three years on issues to do with the survival of small business in Australia.

No matter where you go in my electorate or anywhere else in Australia, you will find that small business is under the pump. Towns in my electorate like Wondai, Gayndah and Monto and bigger centres like Emerald, Biloela and Gladstone are all feeling the pinch. The things that sometimes make their lives intolerable are many. The taxation system really needs a rev. It needs to be simplified so that everyone can understand the taxation rulings. If you were to ring the Australia Taxation Office on any subject at all and ask questions of three or four different people you will get three or four different answers. That needs to be greatly improved.

Regarding GST on imported goods—

An opposition member interjecting

Mr O'DOWD: Yes, and we will be looking after those things, because you never looked after small business. That is why small business is in—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr O'DOWD: Let's forget about the rabble on the other side and get on with it. GST on imported goods over $1,000—do those opposite understand that? Probably not. Do you understand that overseas companies like Google—

An opposition member: Do you understand it?

Mr O'DOWD: I certainly do. I have been in small business, my friend. I have been in small business for 30 years, have you? Probably not. I do not come from a union background, however, workplace health and safety issues are important, and superannuation is a good thing for our staff. However, I believe the staff should themselves be contributing to superannuation. (Time expired)