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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6172

Small Business


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (15:09): My question is to the Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation. Will the minister update the House on how the government's plan for jobs and growth will continue to benefit small businesses around Australia? What are the risks to business posed by alternative schemes?


Mr LAUNDY (ReidMinister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation) (15:09): I thank the member for La Trobe for his passion for small and family businesses in his electorate, and I note the Treasurer today and the Prime Minister. We revert to headline numbers a lot, but there are the mechanics sitting behind the million jobs—400,000 of those in the last 12 months and 80 per cent of those full-time—GDP growth at 3.1 per cent and the best business confidence conditions since the GFC. That comes about at the end of the plan that the Treasurer, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance have been implementing over the past 4½ years. What sits behind it at a microeconomic level? A net increase in the number of small and family businesses opening, amounting to 158,000 in the last 4½ years. In the member for La Trobe's home state of Victoria, there has been a net increase of 52,060 small and family businesses opening in the past 4½ years. Twenty thousand of those have been in the past 12 months. Of the just north of a million jobs, 366,000 have come from the member for La Trobe's home state—over a third. What is happening? At the end of tax cuts and as a result of confidence come businesses opening, employing people and reinvesting in themselves. Small and family business operators are taking on bank debt, backing themselves and employing people.

What is the threat to that? Last Friday we saw the latest addition to the CFMEU's record—now passed—of $15.2 million in fines. The plan of the Leader of the Opposition and his secret deal with the CFMEU put at risk everything that has been put in place. In the construction sector alone, in the past 12 months there have been 50,000 jobs created by small and family businesses in Victoria. Yet what does the Leader of the Opposition do? As payment to his union mates, to whom he is beholden for their support for his leadership as well as their financial support for his election campaigns, he wants to take the ABCC, the Building and Construction Commission—the cop—off the beat. As Stephen McBurney, the commissioner, said to the Federal Court in the latest case, announced on Friday:

The unlawful conduct … directly threatened the livelihoods of the contractors and their workers.

This is what you see. This is what you will see more of. It is endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition. He is beholden to them. We must make sure for the sake of the member for La Trobe and small and family businesses in his seat, let alone Victoria and Australia more broadly, that the sensible economic plan of the Turnbull coalition government continues to be delivered upon. Otherwise workers' jobs will be put at risk.

Mr Turnbull: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.