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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 157

Small Business

Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Small Business. The minister would no doubt be aware of the burden placed on business by the 20,000-plus new regulations imposed by the previous, Labor government. Many of my constituents from some of the 1,600 registered small businesses in my electorate have met with me to highlight the difficulty of doing business because of the mountain of paperwork and regulations with which they must comply. What action is the minister taking to reduce the burden of red tape on small businesses?

Mr BILLSON (DunkleyMinister for Small Business) (14:58): Thank you, Madam Speaker, and congratulations on your election. Isn't it great that the member for Ryan is back—a fearsome advocate for small businesses in her electorate. I thank her for the question. She is indeed very right: small businesses have been absolutely crippled by the 21,000 new and amended regulations introduced by Labor in their period of government. This has been one of the many headwinds that those courageous men and women, who take risks, create opportunities for themselves, mortgage their house and lie awake at night about the opportunities that they can provide for themselves and their community, have had to face. In addition to our comprehensive plan to put the business back into small business, we are tackling this red-tape burden head on. It is not only in the portfolio that I am responsible for but led by our Prime Minister. This is a whole of government effort to see a billion dollars worth of red and green tape taken out of the economy—those excessive intrusions of regulation that serve no good public policy purpose, that overreach, gum up the opportunities and gum up our economy. That is what we are tackling. We have put in place a range of measures. Each portfolio minister has a task to reduce red tape in their areas of responsibility. We have also got the Prime Minister leading that work, ably supported by the member for Kooyong. He is evangelical about the task of reducing red tape and it is great that he is on this case.

We have already started, though, in the area of business names registration. Remember that offensive way in which home based businesses had their privacy violated, against the assurances of this government. That has been corrected as well, removing another red-tape obstacle. We have also got the red tape that will be cut by the removal of the carbon tax. And wouldn't it be great if all those opposite actually went to axe the tax that they said they were going to axe during the election campaign?

We have also made a commitment to get employers out of being the pay clerk for the Paid Parental Leave scheme. Some of my new colleagues in this place might not be aware of it, but we put that measure to the parliament twice under the previous government. They voted against it on 24 February 2011. They voted against it on 24 May, saying it could not be done. But in a thought bubble, to try and look as though Labor had some ideas for small business, guess what they proposed during the election campaign—to do the very thing we had sought to deliver to small businesses on two previous occasions in this parliament.

We are also looking to challenge the Australian Accounting Standards Board. Why is it our small businesses need to report at higher standards, with higher costs, than are set by the International Financial Reporting Standards? Why is this necessary? These are practical examples where we are going to tackle that red-tape scourge that small businesses in the Ryan electorate talk about. We want to put the business back into small business. What we need is a renaissance of enterprise in this country so that we can grow jobs and opportunities for the future, not lose 412,000 jobs in small business, which happened under Labor. We need to stop that decline, turn it around and put the business back into small business. Our economy will be stronger, our communities will be more vibrant and I look forward to working with you on that task.