26 April 2017
Transcript - #2017023, 2017

Doorstop Interview at Salem Power Engineering, Sydney

Joint doorstop interview with
Alex Hawke MP and
Barry and Linda Salem

SUBJECTS: Small business road show; small business tax cuts;

McCORMACK:

[RECORDING STARTS]…. This is just the sort of small business, family enterprise, that we as a Government want to back.

And our policy settings are backing these sorts of small businesses. It’s by reducing red tape. Cutting compliance. Cutting the company tax rate to 27.5 per cent – the lowest it has been in 50 years.

But we are also making more businesses eligible for what’s called the instant asset write-off programme. This enables them to purchase capital equipment – obviously they have to have the cash flow. Cash flow is king in small business of course. But small businesses can buy that capital equipment, irrespective of what that equipment is. They can buy as much of it as they like up to $20,000 and then, with the sort of money they are making from the tax cuts, from being able to instantly write that new equipment off, we know – because we have been in small business, because we have had the lived experience – that small business owners and operators reinvest it in their business.

This is just the sort of small business which is a great success story. A family who has come here and wants to build this region of Australia. It’s great. The GDP that is being generated out of this area is absolutely significant to the national economy. Make no mistake; this is one of the small business engine rooms of the economy. It’s one of the GDP drivers of the economy. And it is small businesses just like this one which do it.

You know, engineering isn’t easy. Engineering is a business where you need expertise, professionalism and you still need all the little things like customer service, back up service. But to have a family enterprise doing it – and doing it well – right here in Western Sydney is significant.

It is only made possible as well, not just thanks to our policy settings we are getting through Parliament, we are getting passed – because we are an action Government, but it’s because of people like Alex Hawke. Alex not only talks up small business and talks a big game on his area’s behalf here, but when he goes to Canberra. He makes sure that his voice – that your local voice – is heard. Sometimes there are Members of Parliament who talk a big game around their regions but when they get to Canberra you don’t hear of them at all. They are lions in their electorates and mice in Canberra. But this bloke is a lion in his electorate and a lion in Canberra. He makes things happen. He is in the full Ministry, as well. He is getting things done because he has that lived experience himself. He understands the importance of small business. He understands the importance of family enterprises. Many of these businesses – they are families. They stay together. They stay united. They start a business from scratch and – quite frankly – they are not just servicing their own domestic market, they are selling to the world. And those are the sorts of businesses we want to back.

These sorts of people put their homes on the line. They put everything on the line for small business. And they are great success stories. They are happening here in western Sydney and they are happening right around the country. We want to back them. That’s why we fought so hard to get our tax plan through the Parliament. That’s why we will continue to fight hard.

I am looking forward to the Budget to see what else we can do for small business. I know the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, is adamant that the Government wants to put everything in place so small businesses can have the pathway to success it needs to have so we can repay the debt, and we can build our economy. We inherited a huge debt, but people like Alex Hawke and small businesses just like this one – the family enterprise businesses – they’re the ones who are going to put our nation back on the path to greatness.

JOURNALIST:

I would like to ask the Salems a question. What are some of the things you would like to talk about from perspective of small businesses and entrepreneurs with the Minister?

BARRY SALEM:

We appreciate the Federal Government reducing the company tax rate to 27.5 per cent. We would like to see more of this coming. That will give us cash flow to invest in equipment and machinery, to train our staff.

The other issue I would like to raise is actually with the State. Because State Government needs to not punish small business because they employ people. I am talking about payroll tax. Payroll tax is a ridiculous tax. It is a tax which prevents people… if my gross wages grows more than $675,000 – that’s nothing. You can employ six or seven people. And then more than that you have to pay more tax for the State Government. It’s not an encouragement. It is stopping you from employing people. It stops you from expanding. And it’s a really recent amount of money – sometimes we pay $30,000 and $40,000 – and that can be a difference out of a contribution to somebody’s wage.

LINA SALEM:

Yeah, but obviously with the Federal Government giving us this incentive, we do feel like there is somebody on our side. You know, it’s not payroll tax, but the company tax break, it just goes back into us increasing – obviously – wages and our staff capacity.

That $40,000 we may have paid in tax could have easily been an income for an intern. So it always flows back into our business – I mean, we live and breathe this 24/7 – so having the ability to hire somebody else and give them to be able to grow their – like Alex from TAFE at 17 years old – to be able to complete and become a qualified tradesperson.

Obviously you are cutting the gap between poverty and wealth by giving people the opportunity to earn it for themselves. It’s not a handout. And obviously, for them to invest in our business by giving us that small, tiny tax change, is making a huge impact. Because we are hiring people. It’s not like Centrelink where you turn around and you give them the money. We are able to put that money back into the local population of Seven Hills, of Liverpool, of Mount Druitt. You know, we are taking people from Mount Druitt. We are taking people from lower socio-economic areas and giving them the opportunity to get employment. That is only helped by tax cuts. Because, obviously, we are paying them with the State as well.

JOURNALIST:

How many people do you employ?

LINA SALEM:

We employ 15.

JOURNALIST:

Thanks.