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Transcript of doorstop interview: 14 May 2008: Budget and small business.



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Wed, 14th May 2008 CIOBO DOORSTOP - BUDGET AND SMALL BUSINESS

Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy & Tourism

E&OE

Ciobo:

Small business has been copped right between the eyes by the Rudd Labor Government. We've seen nearly a billion dollars of small business assistance wiped out in this budget. I'm also concerned because one of Australia's largest export industries, the Tourism Sector, is seeing nearly a billion dollars of new taxes thrust upon it. It really has become a cash cow for the Rudd Labor Government. It's bad news for tourists coming into Australia. It's specially bad news for Australia's 2.4 million small businesses. The main concern for small business is that what we are seeing is despite the rhetoric of providing for working families, one thing's clear from this budget, there will be fewer working families in Australia. By ripping away more than a billion dollars of small business assistance, we are actually going to see a net result of small business compounding with a complete lack of confidence, not continuing to hire more workers in Australia, going forward. Not being able to take advantage of a billion dollars of Government programmes that were there previously. From a tourism perspective, the fact that we are seeing it being treated as a cash cow by the Rudd Labor government. Some one billion dollars of new tax is thrust upon it, with increases in the passenger movement charge, increases in tourist visa application prices, a complete abolition of the private provider under the tourist refund scheme, means that tourists will also be copping it right in the neck.

Question:

Are businesses going to be pushed to the wire? Are they going to close do you think without, or with these taxes?

Ciobo:

Well what's clear is that the small business sector in Australia is really reeling since the Rudd Labor government was elected. We've seen business confidence plummet to record lows and now we've seen one billion dollars of support ripped away from Australia's small businesses, they are about to say enough is enough. They are looking for support from government, not a government that is going to give them a kick to the stomach.

Question:

Mr Rudd last night told business leaders, the government looks forward to working with them. Is that not worth anything in your eyes?

Ciobo:

Well, I think rhetoric is one thing, but action is what small business is looking for. What's clear is the Rudd Labor Government has kicked small business in Australia in

the stomach. We're already seeing them provisioning for an increase in the unemployment rate. What's clear is that the more that they hammer small business, the more that the unemployment rate will go up.

Question:

Heather Ridout is [inaudible] responsible budget.

Ciobo:

Well, I'm a little astounded by some of the industry comment. The fact remains that we are seeing a billion dollars of small business support ripped away from the small business sector; we've seen the abolition of the commercial ready programme, the abolition of the small business field officers programme. Small businesses will suffer as a result.