3 October 2017
Transcript - #2017057, 2017

Interview with Damian Drum, WIN TV Shepparton

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

DAMIAN DRUM:

Well we have been over to Echuca first thing this morning, with a breakfast there with business associations and members of the Kyabram Business Chamber, so they have had an opportunity to talk to Michael about their small business and the threats, the imposts, what’s working well within their small business and where the challenges are. And it’s a great opportunity for, ah, these small businesses  (and some of them are quite large), but it is an opportunity for them for operators in the Goulburn Valley to affectively talk to the Minister and let him know exactly how they are going and where the issues are.

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

DAMIAN DRUM:

I think the (Inaudible) and the productivity of every cities (Inaudible) is always…. The conversation is really about the cost of energy at the moment, how Federal Government can put pressure on the state government  to amend their energy policies certainly in relation to gas.  It’s also the cost of energy, employment and how we can assist in that area. It’s the tax advantages that Michael advocates for when it comes to instant asset write-offs and also a whole raft of other, you know, can we keep putting downward pressure on the business tax so that these businesses have an opportunity to further invest in their own businesses.

So, these are some of the issues that have risen so far and I think that’s what great when these business people, very very busy in their days, you know, I’ve just come from a café operator who her and her husband are operating seven a days a weeks for the last two years, but now just starting to see the light of day, as they start to get a little bit of reward for all of their hard work.

So, there is a lot of different and varied messages, however, the messages are we want to see a federal Government that is working and doing everything they can to bring downward pressure on energy costs, electricity costs and also just being aware of the cost of labour and where they can actually help in relation to come flexibility, and they’re the main messages coming out of the business sector.

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

DAMIAN DRUM:

Well it has, the grand final holiday has been raised nearly everywhere we’ve gone and you know, universal bewilderment for why we need to have a day off before we have the day off. Um so, nobody loves football more than Michael McCormack or Damian Drum but we’re still shaking our heads as to why Daniel Andrews thinks we need to have day off to celebrate one of the great days in our calendar.  We’ve got the Saturday to celebrate the grand final, we’ve got the Sunday to get over it. And I don’t know why they seem to think we need to have a Friday off, but you better ask Daniel Andrews about that.

Yep, I hand you over now, mate and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks mate, here he is now.

MICHAEL MCCORMACK:

How you going?

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

MCCORMACK:

Good Wade, really good.

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

MCCORMACK:

Well certainly there is an air of positivity here which is good and that air of positivity has been brought about by the fact that we actually do have the lowest company tax rate for 77 years. So the tax rate of 27.5 per cent is the lowest it’s been since 1940. So that’s good, we’ve extended the instant asset write-off that enables small businesses of up to a $10 million turnover to be able to buy capital equipment, write-it-off instantly, they don’t have to put it on long depreciation schedules, but what were also hearing are the challenges, and there are some challenges. Energy costs being one of them, I know the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, the leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce have certainly, you know, called to account the energy companies and we’ve done some work in the space of reserving space for domestic usage and certainly longer term we’ve looked at snowy hydro 2.0  so we are re-energising that wonderful engineering masterpiece that we are using renewables  we are able to, you know, in the future power an additional 500,000 homes and businesses on the eastern grid.  So they are good things we are doing, but we need the states to collaborate and cooperate with us to be able to do what they can and at the moment, ah you know, we really need them to come on board as well because, you know we live in a country, which has a plentiful supply of the sorts of things that are going to provide power we just need be able to harness it better and we need to do that with state cooperation. But look, otherwise, you know the holiday we didn’t need to have for the AFL grand final last Friday has caused some consternation among the business community. One business owner we spoke to said that she had had a very busy day and it actually lost money, that’s not good, we don’t need businesses to lose money and they open particularly those in the hospitality trade, they open so that they can the right thing by their communities so that tourists and locals alike have the opportunity to get a cup of coffee, to get a meal, but they shouldn’t have to open and lose money particularly when they are hundreds of kilometres away from the AFL parade, which quite frankly under those work place arrangements and you really want the day off you’ll be able to get there anyway and you know cheer your team past  as they go down the main street for twenty or so minutes. When you catch the glimpse of them you don’t need a day off to celebrate it.  We all love our footy but you know, in an attempt to how far that goes when it’s costing small business owners a lot of money just to open their doors.

JOURNALIST:

Inaudible

MCCORMACK:

Well, Damian Drum is a really good example of somebody who has actually run, owned and operated his own small business for seven years he had a steel fabrication company, I’m similar, and you know, we’ve actually had the lived experience of owning and operating our own small businesses so we know the challenges, we know the pitfalls, and also the opportunities of being the masters of your destiny so that you can, you know, you’ve actually had the experience to be employing people , of making sure, you know, you’re accountable to your community  and also accountable to the tax office. So, you know exactly what is going through minds and tills of small business owners and operators. That experience is essential. You know, parliamentarians need, I think, to have a wide community experience, and sometimes it is a wild experience (laughs) we need a wide experience at making sure that they know what is at the very heart of running and owing a small business and it is a wild ride for some small business owners and we having run our own small businesses we know that full well.  And there are great opportunities. we’ve got free trade agreements, which particularly regional communities can take advantage of with South Korea, with China, and Japan. We’ve got the NBN roll-out happening, we’ve actually invested in 765 mobile phone towers, we’ve already built a couple of hundred of those in regional communities which previously we not connected. So we are doing a lot of work in that space, that only happens when hard working Nationals with small business experience are helping and making sure the voice of our local communities are heard. And that’s why I’m visiting whether it’s rural or remote or regional communities or whether it’s capital cities  in my role as Small Business Minister, I’m the first regional Small Business Minister  in the Federal Parliament and I bring that regional voice and perspective to everything I do in Canberra.

Just one other thing that I would like to say, I urge listeners, as Small Business Minister I also have responsibility for Consumer Affairs, at the moment there is an airbag recall for Takata airbags. Takata airbags have be recalled worldwide, there is a proposed mandatory recall notice, which is a step along the way to a mandatory recall. I would urge and encourage anyone that has a vehicle to visit the website productsafety.gov.au, and see if their vehicle, their ute, their car, their small truck, their motorbike, is fitted with a Takata airbag and if it is, make the necessary steps to get it replaced because in some instances they can be dangerous particularly if they are alpha airbags and as part of the Takata range they do need to be replaced urgently. There are one in seven vehicles at the moment with Takata airbags, which do need replacing and as a community service I make that plea to people to take the time and effort to answer any recall notice they may receive in the mail but more importantly to visit productsafety.gov.au to see if their car or vehicle has a Takata airbag which does need replacing.