24 November 2017
Transcript - #2017062, 2017

Interview with Radio FM100.3 and 2AD Armidale

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Thanks, Tara.

Well, I'm catching up with the Armidale Business Chamber so that's going to be fantastic. Really looking forward to continuing my national small business roadshow right across the nation where I've visited more than 80 electorates and this the first time I've ventured to Armidale so I thought it was about time that I came here and had a listen to what they have to tell me and what they'd like to see the Government to do.

We're certainly doing a lot in the space of small business. We've done so much just in the past week, in fact, in the space of small business, but also visiting the UNE Smart Region Incubator and Smart Farm – really exciting initiatives and I just wanted to catch up with them and see how that's unfolding and what sort of plans they've got for the future.

JOURNALIST: …

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Well, look, that's a really exciting initiative and it's going to be headed up by Mark Bouris. It's going to be reporting back to Government by the end of February but they are going to have a number of Agrihacks and forums.

What we want to really see is small business embracing more the digital age. At the moment less than half of small businesses are on social media and yet nearly 80 per cent of their consumers, in fact, do have a social media presence and in this day and age where more and more people are using Tap and Go and swiping for payments – 10 years ago 69 per cent of payments were paid by cash, these days it's only about 37 per cent, so life is changing. We don't just surf on the net, we actually live on the net and, you know, we really need to, as a Government, encourage small businesses and industry alike to get more digitally engaged and so that's what this taskforce is doing. It's going to ensure that more Australian small businesses can thrive in an increasingly digital economy and I'm really excited.

We've got Su McCluskey as a regional representative. It's a great panel and I think it will do a great body of work.

JOURNALIST: …

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Well look, they are, but, you know, you still get, and I always encourage people to shop local, think local, buy local, particularly leading up to Christmas because if we don't use those little boutique stores and those little one-off shops in Armidale and other regional areas there's the possibility we could lose them and, you know, sure, shopping online is great but you can also, you get after sales friendly service. If something goes wrong you can always take it back to a local shop and we need to make sure that local shops stay there and survive and thrive because we need those local jobs, so that's why it is important to, at this time, particularly during the busy retail period, to think local.

JOURNALIST: …

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Well, indeed and I once was in that position and like most of my colleagues if not all of my colleagues in the Coalition – we've run small businesses, we know what it's like, we've employed people and that's the difference between us and Labor, we actually understand business and we're trying to encourage it in every, every way possible and that's why we've got the tax rates at 27.5 per cent, the lowest they've been since 1940, that's why we extended the Instant Asset Write-off and I know my mate Barnaby Joyce is very excited about the fact that we've done those things in the small business space because we've got to encourage business, small business in particular, to survive and thrive and employ more Australians, particularly in regional areas and I come from a regional area so I know how important it is to these rural and regional economies.

JOURNALIST: …

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Look, it is, and I flew in here today and it's a beautiful, beautiful place. I've been here a number of times before but, you know, we do need to encourage innovation and Deloitte research recently found that small businesses with advanced levels of digital engagement are 14 times more likely to be innovating and we've got a lot – our Prime Minister talks a lot about innovation and in this day and age where the economy is changing where the job of today may not necessarily be the job of tomorrow, we've got those Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, with China, Japan, now with Peru, the possibilities are endless. We need our businesses, particularly our small ones, to innovate and to keep up to speed with all these things and that's why we've got the innovation, the digital taskforce encouraging innovation and that's why we're doing all these sorts of things in the small business space.

JOURNALIST: …

MICHAEL McCORMACK:

Thanks so much, Tara, all the very best.