I come from a family of small business people, and I am proud that the Turnbull government has been small business’s best friend since we were elected over 3½ years ago. On Tuesday night the Treasurer outlined how members on this side of the chamber are committed to delivering jobs and economic growth, with further measures supporting the over 12,600 small businesses in my electorate of Forrest. The budget extends the $20,000 instant asset write-off for a further year, and that is great news for small business. We also have increased the turnover threshold to $10 million, enabling more growing businesses to reinvest in their future and upgrade their equipment. It is practical initiatives such as this instant asset write-off that make a real impact for the 3.2 million businesses that are the economic backbone of this country, the small businesses. They are the people who employ 6.5 million Australians, often giving people their first job and just as often giving people their last job.
Recently the Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack, came to the South West and caught up with several small business owners, including visiting one of the region’s great success stories, Hot Weld Fabrication. Rick Casagrande was just 21 years old when he started Hot Weld in 2004 after he completed his boilermaking and welding apprenticeship. Based on his very strong work ethic and dedication to service and product quality, Hot Weld has grown to now employ 35 people across the business’s two workshops, Hot Weld Fabrication and Hotweld Engineering. Rick does not just employ local people in the South West; he actually trains highly skilled employees and apprentices. Hot Weld uses state-of-the-art steel structure fabrication and erection technology, and it services businesses throughout the South West. The government’s 10-year Enterprise Tax Plan is helping small businesses like Hot Weld to prosper and grow—those that are employing hardworking Australians, particularly in rural and regional areas like my own.
As I said, Hot Weld is an absolute leader in its field. It has won numerous awards year upon year, starting right back in 2007. That was only three years after Rick started the business and he started winning awards—the 40 Under 40 Award, South West business awards, right through to the 2015 building excellence award for the South West. They have delivered quality products regularly. I want to acknowledge Rick Casagrande and his team for their focus on delivering very good quality products to all of the businesses they service in my electorate of Forrest.