9 June 2017
Transcript - #2017033, 2017

Joint doorstop interview, Mackay, Queensland

Joint doorstop interview with
George Christensen MP
Member for Dawson

SUBJECTS: Small business tax cuts; Budget measures for small business; shop local campaign; instant asset write-off extension.

GEORGE CHRISTENSEN:

It’s great to be here at Debbie’s Seafood with the Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, who has come to the Mackay region to talk to small businesses.

We had a forum earlier today at the Souths Suburban Bowls Club and we had a great representation of small business, including representatives of the local Chamber of Commerce. We were talking about all the issues to do with small business here and it was a great forum, having not just the Small Business Minister but representatives from the ATO, the ACCC and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

There are some great stories we have got in this region in small business. We are reducing the company tax rate for small business, down to 27.5 per cent. We have reduced it and we want to reduce it even further, down to 25 per cent. On top of that, because it’s been so successful, the $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended for another year.

I know Debbie and the team here at Debbie’s Seafood, they’ve actually taken advantage of that in buying equipment that is now here in their store, in their café. And they want to buy more in this extended year for that instant asset write-off.

I’ll just hand it over to Michael and then we will take some questions.

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Thanks George.

It’s sensational to be here in Mackay with George Christensen, my friend and colleague. It’s great to be here at Debbie’s Seafood. It is a family enterprise, first and foremost. Debbie and her husband Mark and daughter Natalie and her husband Craig is what makes small business tick. Not just in Mackay, but they are indeed representative of what’s happening around the nation.

There are 3.2 million small businesses employing almost half the Australians in the workforce. They are doing it tough in as much as they are opening their doors early, they’re closing late at night, and then of course they go home and have to do paperwork.

Our Government – the Federal Government – is trying to reduce that paperwork. We are simplifying the Business Activity Statements from 1 July. We have put $300 million on the table in the last Budget to incentivise the States and Territories to see how they can help us to further reduce the red tape burden on small businesses, such as Debbie’s Seafood. I urge the Palaszczuk Government to get on board to help us to reduce some of that red tape burden.

Indeed, that’s what we heard at our forum today. The small business roadshow came to Mackay and George Christensen had 50 of his local businesses tell us they want more red tape cut.

They were certainly very pleased the instant asset write-off has been extended by 12 months. We have heard that Debbie’s Seafood is taking advantage of that programme by buying cookers, which is of course going to enable her to get more customers.

It will enable her to create more efficiency in her business, to get more customers through her door. But I have also heard that improves staff morale. More than that, by buying locally Debbie then creates a chain reaction and that’s what we’ve heard right throughout Queensland, indeed right around the nation. The instant asset write-off programme is creating good productivity, but also supplying local businesses and local installers with more work.

It creates jobs. It creates opportunities. It creates hope. And that’s what our Federal Government is doing.

By lowering the company tax rate to 27.5 per cent, that also puts more money into the pockets of small businesses such as Debbie’s Seafood. We know from our experience they end up reinvesting that money back into their own business, which creates further jobs.

So it’s great to be here with George Christensen. He’s a fantastic local member. And I am really looking forward to hearing more about Debbie’s Seafoods and the other small businesses which are making Mackay hum along very nicely.

Are there any questions?

JOURNALIST:

Before the Budget – that was probably one of the biggest concerns for the Business Chamber and local businesses. I am sure you are aware that our region has been doing it tougher than some other regions across Australia. Is there an opportunity to cut these even further?

McCORMACK:

Yeah, that’s why we made sure the company tax rate was cut to 27.5 per cent. That’s the lowest it’s been since 1940, since World War II. So we want to make sure that businesses right throughout Mackay, and more of those businesses throughout Mackay, among the 17,000 small and medium businesses George Christensen represents- I can assure you he advocates for them very fiercely in Canberra - we want to give them every opportunity to succeed. To grow, to employ more young people in and around Mackay - in and around the Dawson electorate - by lowering their company tax rate and also redefining what actually is a ‘small business’.

So we have redefined it from a $2 million turnover to a $10 million turnover. That enables even more small businesses to take advantage of paying less tax, as well as the instant asset write-off.

JOURNALIST:

Obviously we have a lot of businesses operating. How do you actually get people to use the businesses in somewhere like Mackay?

McCORMACK:

I have always made sure I encourage people to shop local, think local, buy local. I know that George Christensen also does that.

We want to make sure that people shop local and by putting programmes in, such as the instant asset write-off, it encourages businesses to then go out, buy and install equipment that is from a local supplier. It uses local tradespeople to install that equipment. It creates a chain reaction in the community – and Debbie’s Seafood is one such business who has done that. It’s great to see. Buying cookers, buying them locally, installing them from local tradespeople and then it has that chain reaction through a local community.

JOURNALIST:

Fantastic – thank you.

McCORMACK:

Thank you.