Treasury Laws Amendment (Support for Small Business and Charities and Other Measures) Bill 2023

29 May | '2024

Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses, which are families, generate one-third of GDP in this country and they make up 98 per cent of all businesses and employ around half of the private sector workforce. So why is this government punishing them and why is this government not adding that extra $10,000—that the opposition is asking for—for small and family businesses across this nation, when small businesses are the engine room of the economy and when they employ so many Australians?

I started myself working in small business, as did many people one this side. At the age of 13 I was selling pianos in the local music shop. And for the bloke that owned the music shop—the retail outlet—that was his business and he worked there. He was the HR manager, the owner, the salesperson and even the accountant in that small business. And how much money did he take home at the end of the day? He was the last one to be paid. I made more money as a casual in his business than he did, with the hours. I think we worked it out once, and he got
about $2 an hour for working in his business.

We know what we will do for small business, but small businesses across the nation are perplexed because they don’t know what this government has done for them since coming to power. We know that we will repeal the IR laws that the Labor government has put in place and we will cut red tape when we’re in government to make it cheaper and easier for small business to employ Australians.

On the Gold Coast we’ve got 72,000 small and family businesses and SMEs—small- and medium-size enterprises. In Moncrieff alone there are 32,000 small businesses, and they are hurting. They are having trouble keeping the doors open.

An opposition member: They’re doing it tough.

Ms BELL: They are doing it tough. And $20,000 will not buy you the kind of equipment that you need to make sure that your business runs well. And, can I say, a lot of small businesses across the Gold Coast have already bought their coffee machines with the coalition’s instant asset write-off, they’ve already bought their utes that the coalition allowed them to buy under a higher instant asset write-off. It was unlimited under the coalition. We are the party of small and family business, and those on the other side are not.

All we are asking for in these amendments is an extra $10,000 for small and family businesses across the nation. The Gold Coast needs an extra $10,000 for every small and family business so that they can write it off in their tax as an instant asset write-off. This is a government that’s removing measures that would help drive productivity at a time when we’ve seen record collapses in labour productivity.

They’re distracted. What have they been spending money on instead of an extra $10,000 for SMEs? They spent hundreds of millions of dollars—$450 million—on a failed referendum that the Australian people didn’t want, and hundreds of millions dollars on taxpayer funded spin units. That’s what they’re spending money on. There’s $24 billion for more public servants that we don’t need. How can the government tell the Australian people, in a cost-of-living crisis, that they are going to spend $24 billion on more public servants that we simply do not need? They are spending billions in subsidies for billionaires. That’s right—they are spending billions of dollars in absolutely wasted revenue.

But what are they doing for small business? I asked the Minister for Small Business, who is not in the chamber during this debate about small business, ‘What is your government doing for small business?’ An instant asset write-off of $20,00 for one year is not good enough. Small and family businesses are hurting, and what they need right now is a $30,000 instant asset write-off that goes on ad infinitum. That’s what they need.

Mr McCormack: They need stability.

Ms BELL: They need security, they need stability—

Mr McCormack: And consistency.

Ms BELL: and they need consistency. They need to know what their costs are and what they can get back on their taxes, and the instant asset write-off is a very important part of that. Small businesses are the heart, the very engine room, of the Gold Coast community particularly. But right across Australia, in every electorate, small businesses are being punished by the Labor government, who have wasted billions and billions of taxpayer dollars on the wrong priorities. They should be looking after small and family business, the engine room of our economy.

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