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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3110

Small Business

Mr HUSIC (ChifleyGovernment Whip) (14:37): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation. Will the Assistant Treasurer outline for the House the importance of providing tax relief for business and what support is there for this?

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (14:37): I thank the member for Chifley, who understands the needs of businesses in Western Sydney, which is one of the largest regional economies in this country and a part of the world that I proudly represent. The question that the member for Chifley has asked goes to the government's plans to manage the economy in the interests of working people. We are determined to put in place a mining tax so that we can spread the benefits of the mining boom to ensure that those businesses that are not experiencing the benefits of being in the fast lane of the economy are able to get a tax cut and tax relief at a time when they need it most.

When we take decisions in this place they have real consequences for real people. I read in the Age this morning of the case of James Anderson, who runs a small landscaping business in Tullamarine. Mr Anderson is a supporter of this government's plans to cut tax and provide tax relief for small business. In the article he said:

I think it's very disappointing that the coalition isn't behind this. They should be doing everything they can to help small businesses…

He goes on to make the point that is the bleeding obvious to people out there in the community, even if it seems to elude those opposite. He went on:

Especially at the moment where we have a two-speed economy with one sector doing very, very well and the rest doing poorly.

James Anderson understands that we need to spread the benefits of the mining boom and that is what we want to do.

I am also asked about the extent of support for these proposals. It is a matter that is on the public record that the business community, through ACCI, the BCA, AiG and COSBOA, universally support this government's efforts to cut taxes because they know it is important to support business. But there are others, not just out there in the community but even in this place, who support providing relief to small business. I was struck by the comments of the member for Hughes in his maiden speech, a member whom I know has in the media recently been associated with the challenges that many businesses are presently facing. The member for Hughes said in his maiden speech:

…when push comes to shove, if we as the natural friends of small business do not stand up for a fair go for small business people, then we risk them remaining the forgotten people.

Menzies would be turning in his grave. They want to consign the small business people of this country to the scrap heap of the forgotten people. We are determined to stand up for small business and if those on the other side want to forget about small business, so be it. The Gillard government will stand up for them and we will deliver a tax cut.

Mr HUSIC (ChifleyGovernment Whip) (14:40): Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Assistant Treasurer. Given the support out there for helping small businesses, what would be the impact of not giving the tax relief that the Assistant Treasurer has talked about?

Mr Pyne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I put it to you that that supplementary question does not arise out of the answer of the minister and is therefore out of order.

The SPEAKER: I consider it does. The Assistant Treasurer has the call.

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (14:41): It is a very pertinent question that the member for Chifley asks. I know that when he asked that question he had in his mind the 9,800 small businesses in his electorate because he knows in the same way as Mr Anderson knows—who was quoted in the Age this morning—that if this tax relief is not provided there will be very serious consequences for small businesses all around this country. Indeed, this morning in the Age Mr Anderson said:

A tax cut would enable us to retain staff and even invest in staff training and new machinery and equipment.

He went on to say:

Without it, it will be very challenging.

Indeed, without tax relief it will be very challenging for the 2.7 million small businesses around Australia, particularly those that are not in the fast lane. There are many in this place who understand how important it is to recognise that some sectors are not doing it as well as others. Just last year, the member for Longman very wisely said at a press conference:

In Caboolture we have twice the national average unemployment rate and we have a local economy that's dependent on small business, retail and tourism…

Wyatt Roy interjecting

When the member for Longman said that, I am sure he was thinking about—

The SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Longman will remove himself . He is interjecting from outside his seat. He will remove himself for one hour under standing order 94(a). The Assistant Treasurer has the call for the remaining six seconds.

The member for Longman then left the chamber.

Mr BRADBURY: the 13,300 small businesses in his electorate and he should think about them when he comes in here to vote down a tax cut. (Time expired)