[RECORDING STARTS]…. Your visit to Albany and Denmark today?
Certainly. Very excited to be with Rick Wilson in Albany today. Rick has invited me and now I have turned up for a small business roadshow, which is a national tour, and we have come to the great area that Rick Wilson represents today. We have been to Denmark and now we are here in Albany and we are listening to small businesses – we are talking to them as well – but most importantly we are listening to them. We are here to see what they have to say about what they expect their government to put in place, what are some of the measures they need, that they want and that they expect to grow – and to employ more people.
We have cut the tax rate – to 27.5 per cent. We have lowered the tax rate. That’s the lowest tax rate in many, many decades indeed. We have done that because we back small business. We have done that because we understand small businesses open their doors very early, they work very late and they want red tape reduced. They also want extra money to be able to invest in their business. That’s why we have cut the tax rate, as I say. That’s also why we have extended the eligibility for the instant asset write-off to businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million.
So we have redefined what is a small business. It used to be a turnover of less than $2 million, but we changed – we upped that – to $10 million. That is quite significant. Because that means many more thousands of businesses in Western Australia – and certainly in the area Rick represents – will be able to take advantage of a cut in the company tax rate and the instant asset write-off. This means they can buy capital equipment – right up to $20,000 – and write it off against their tax.
So we are doing a lot. We are reducing red tape. We said when we got into Government that we would reduce – we would cut – red tape by $1 billion a year. We have reduced $5.8 billion in red tape. That’s a significant saving on compliance for businesses and a significant saving for them all round.
Because what businesses do when they get a bit more money – whether that’s in regional Western Australia or wherever – they reinvest that in their businesses. They hire that young Australian, that apprentice. They put on an older Australian. They buy more capital equipment. And, in doing so, they are generating more money for the economy. They are growing prosperity, increasing investment and – most importantly – creating jobs.
So it is significant. It’s great that this national small business roadshow has come to Albany. I’m very much looking forward to listening to the many small businesses who a turning up and sharing their ideas, sharing their feedback with us.
And of course I am very much looking forward to next week’s budget. I am sure Treasurer Scott Morrison has some very good things in there for small business. As I say, we are the Government for small business. We are a Government which backs small business. And certainly I am very much hopeful the instant asset write-off should be extended. But as I say, it will be a good budget for small business, a good budget for Australia. I am confident it will be good for the economy and that’s right around Australia – here in regional WA and beyond – and that’s why the feedback from the many small businesses we meet is just so important and why I am excited to be in regional WA.
So can you give us a sense of some of the issues you’re hearing, like in Denmark this afternoon?
Well they want connectivity. And certainly that’s why we are rolling out the NBN. We are doing it faster, more efficiently and more affordably than would have otherwise been the case. Labor talked a big game when it came to NBN, but certainly they delivered very little.
There were pretty maps, of course, online, and that was great but certainly all they actually did was dig a few holes but they laid very little fibre. But this Government – the Coalition Government – is actually rolling it out. We have a mix of technologies and it’s coming to this area, it’s coming right around Australia, thanks to the Coalition Government. Thanks to members like Rick Wilson and others who fought very hard for it.
We also heard about our tax cuts and what they mean for small business. Rick Wilson has continually knocked on my door and told me why people, why small businesses, around this area need this tax cut. We have certainly heard how small businesses are going to be able to ease a bit of pressure from their bottom lines and how positive this will be for the region. We heard from small businesses like these around the country and the Government has delivered.
We have also delivered the instant asset write-off to many, many hundreds of businesses in the area Rick Wilson represents. Certainly it’s a very diverse area and there’s a lot of businesses in this area with a mix of ideas, technology and innovation and they are getting on with the job. It’s like small businesses are right around Australia. It’s small businesses like the ones around here who make sure there are jobs for Australians – and more of them. And certainly it’s that which helps build the economy. It’s that which helps us pay back Labor’s debt and that’s why I am so pleased I am here to meet with them and hear their ideas.
So what sort of response are you getting from small businesses, not just in Denmark, but in regional Australia when it comes to Sunday training and penalty rates?
Well certainly the decision on penalty rates was made by the Fair Work Commission. It’s a group set up by Labor. The review was commissioned by Labor. And – as well – the people who conducted the review were appointed by Labor. It’s a bit rich of Labor to come out now and criticise the decision made by the Fair Work Commission which they themselves appointed.
That said, right across Australia, small business owners and operators want to open on a Sunday. Peter Strong, from the Council of Small Businesses of Australia has said it will lead to many thousands of more jobs, many thousands more people employed and more hours for employees. He certainly says this will mean many small businesses will now open their doors whereas once they did not. Small businesses have certainly been saying that it’s difficult and expensive to trade on a Sunday and now they are saying they will be able to open their doors.
As I say, this is a decision at arm’s-length of Government. The Fair Work Commission is the independent umpire. They are at arm’s-length from the Government. They made a determination on five of 122 awards and they took hundreds of submissions over many, many months and there are thousands of pages in the inquiry, of the submissions and the feedback. This was a two-year process and the Fair Work Commission made this decision based on what they felt was necessary, what they felt was what they had heard from small businesspeople, owners and operators, right across Australia. And they also took into account what unions were saying – listening to submissions of employers and employees – to make this decision at arm’s-length of Government. Totally independent. And certainly people like Peter Strong from the COSBOA could mean many, many additional jobs – thousands, in fact, he says – many of which will be in regional Australia.
Rick Wilson, anything to add?
Certainly. It’s great to welcome the Minister here in the Great Southern. Days like today give the small businesses in this area the chance to not only engage with the Minister but also to highlight to the high-ranking officials from the ACCC and the ATO. As a special bonus we have Kate Carnell, the Small Business Ombudsman here in Albany and Denmark as well. It’s a great opportunity for us, too, to hear that feedback, to engage, with the high-ranking bureaucrats and take the message back to Canberra about what we need for our businesses across the Great Southern.