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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12224


Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (14:40): My question is to the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations. Will the minister update the House on how the government's strong economic plan is helping small business thrive? Is the minister aware of any risks posed by higher taxing alternatives?

Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Women and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations) (14:41): I thank the member for La Trobe for his question. As the member knows, a strong economy is absolutely fundamental, not only in delivering the essential services that Australians rely on but also in ensuring that our small and family businesses have the right environment in which to thrive. Under the coalition's stewardship of the economy, our economy is going from strength to strength. We have seen around 1.2 million jobs created since coming into government. There are now more Australians in work than ever before.

I know that the member for Sydney always finds this a very inconvenient point, but there are more Australian women in work than ever before. There are more Australian women in full-time work than ever before. In fact, we have the highest participation rate on record. In fact, we have seen the gender pay gap come down under our government to 14.5 per cent. Under the Labor government, it went up to more than 17 per cent. Just last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirmed that, over the past year, we have seen the strongest growth in median wages in around 13 years. It is the coalition government, under Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, that will see the delivery of a surplus—something that those opposite do not have the skill to do. In fact, they last delivered a surplus when the Berlin Wall was standing.

Under our government, we have cut taxes. We've cut them for small and family-sized businesses: the more than three million small and family-sized businesses that are employing so many millions of Australians. We have cut red tape for those businesses. We've simplified the business activity statement to help with their compliance costs. We have established the Australian Financial Complaints Authority to ensure that small businesses have access to fast, free and binding dispute resolution when they have a complaint with a financial institution.

We will continue to do all that we can to support small business, and we do so proudly. But those opposite will only do one thing if they are entrusted with government: they will take more money from small businesses and more money from the people who work for them. They will slug them with higher business taxes. They will slug them with higher taxes on their investments. They will make it harder for small and family businesses to employ people. They will make it harder for young people to be able to get a job and build for their future. They will make it harder for people to be able to save for their retirement, with their mega retiree tax. We will back small business; they will attack them. (Time expired)