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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10102

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (12:59): I would like to strongly support the first point of this motion that acknowledges that small businesses are a major driver of economic growth in Australia. I would also like to strongly support that small businesses make an enormous contribution, that they often do not have the resources and that they face significant obstacles.

As a person that has both worked in small business and owned a small business, I really do understand the issues that relate to small business. But I always find it amusing when members on the other side of this parliament stand up and portray themselves as the friends of small business, when in actual fact everything they do, every action that they take, make it harder for small businesses to survive. It seems to be the rhetoric that they adopt. In actual fact, they are the friends of big business and the friends of exporting jobs overseas and exporting small business opportunities overseas rather than actually contributing to the day-to-day viability of small businesses.

We only have to look at the recent announcements in relation to defence and the Abbott government's failure to support future submarines in Australia. At every opportunity that they have had, they have failed to actually take up the cudgel, get in there and fight for small business. They use the rhetoric of cutting red tape. Well, I only see this government putting in place more red tape. Their repeal day was a joke day. They talk about repealing redundant Commonwealth legislation. A lot of the legislation that they repealed was just about the wording in the legislation. It is just what this government does so well—creating a smokescreen, creating an atmosphere where they purport to be doing something when in actual fact they are doing nothing.

This motion talks about employment opportunities and how there has actually been a decrease in the number of people that were employed in small business during the time that Labor was in power. That is correct—it did go down from 5.1 million to 4.5 million. But what happened was that those people actually moved to medium-sized businesses, and there was a 6.2 per cent increase in employment in that sector.

This government has ripped benefits away from small business. The instant asset write-off that was in place allowed businesses to write off the taxable proportion of the value of an asset that cost less than $6½ thousand. The number of assets it could be applied to was unlimited. From 1 January this threshold was to be increased to $1,000. This is gone now under this government, showing a total lack of respect for small business. It is the same with special depreciation rules for motor vehicles. Gone! This government actually shows a lack of commitment to small business, shows a lack of commitment to innovation and takes money away from all the areas that support small business. I know that members on the other side of this House argue the opposite way, but when you get there and you look at actually what has happened, you see that this government has been attacking small business not supporting small business.

It is organisations like the Lake Macquarie Business Growth Centre that actually support businesses on the ground, that provide help and encouragement to get around the hurt and impost that has been placed on them by this cruel, mean Abbott government.