Treasury Laws Amendment Bill 2018

On this side of the House we all know that small business is the absolute engine room of the economy. There are 2,101,607 small businesses in Australia, with over 218,152 in my home state of Western Australia. In WA, 512,000 people are employed by those small businesses.

The Turnbull government is absolutely backing small business, and we always will. We’re backing business with more-competitive taxes to help them invest, grow and employ more workers. As the Prime Minister has said repeatedly, jobs and growth is not just a slogan; it’s actually an outcome, and more than a million Australians are now in work since this government was first elected back in 2013. It’s an absolute credit, though, to the hundreds of thousands of businesses around the country who have actually taken the risk themselves. They’ve invested their own money, they’ve done the hard work, they’ve often mortgaged their house and, as I’ve said, they often don’t sleep at night either. They put in a massive effort and have given so many other Australians the best of all opportunities, which is, of course, a job. Often, small businesses give Australians their first job, and their last job as well. I’ve seen this repeatedly in the south-west in my electorate, the transformation of someone who’s been able to come off welfare and get into work.

The government is backing industry and small business particularly to invest and create jobs. It is the central plank of our stronger economy that was set out in this year’s budget, and the Turnbull government is delivering on that commitment. Employment is now at a record high of over 12.5 million Australians now in work. The government has already legislated tax cuts for 3.3 million small and medium Australian businesses, employing 6.8 million workers. This is a very key part of our 10-year enterprise tax plan. We’ve increased the unincorporated small business tax discount rate from five per cent to eight per cent, up to a cap of $1,000. This rate will increase to 16 per cent by 2026-27.

A key and important way we’ve supported small business is by lifting the small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million. This measure has helped small businesses all over Australia. Another one of the measures that we’ve introduced that I hear so much about when I’m out in my electorate is the $20,000 instant asset write-off that we see in this bill here; this has been extended by this bill to 30 June 2019. I talk to so many owners for whom this has been such a great benefit to their businesses.

On Saturday night, I was fortunate enough to attend the South West Small Business Awards. They’re the small business awards for the South West region in my electorate. They were held in Bunbury. I want to congratulate all of the winners and to speak about some of the small businesses that are actually benefitting from the decisions we’ve made on tax and also this decision to extend the instant asset write-off. When I look at the winners, I see Nudge Psychological Assessment and Consulting, based in Busselton and Bunbury. It’s a private practice providing psychological services in areas around educational assessment, EAP services, victims of crime counselling, workers compensation and the NDIS. It employs a number of specialist clinical psychologists. It was awarded the best business with five to 10 employees, and co-owner Melissa Harrison, an absolute powerhouse in Nudge Psychological Assessment and Consulting, was named the Business Person of the Year. What a great result, Melissa; you’ve done a fantastic job.

The major winner of the award for a business with zero to four employees was The Barberia of Bunbury. It is a vintage style barbershop based in Bunbury. Adam and Saylor do a fantastic job in styling and cutting hair for everyone around the region, not just those in Bunbury.
In the award category of businesses with 11 to 20 employees, Constructive PD was the winner. They are a group of passionate local people who are absolutely making their mark in what are landmark construction projects. Innovative and cutting edge, they have dedicated employees who are led very, very competently by Ian Meachem. They’re working so hard to provide quality building services in Western Australia. Ian was the runner-up in the Business Person of the Year award.

One of the major awards in the South West Small Business Awards was SportsPower Bunbury and Eton Fair. In 1978 a group of individuals had the foresight to see an opportunity and had the courage to actually have a go. Eight independent sporting goods retailers got together and formed a co-op called Sports Star. Their idea was very simple: operating as a group offered greater advantages than trying to survive as individual retailers. This strategy was so successful that Sports Star became SportsPower in 1985. The group has continued to increase its advertising and marketing presence and has embarked on an expansion program that has seen SportsPower create a significant network that is very highly regarded.

I really want to talk about the Home Based Business Award winner, The Goodnight Nurse. It’s a fantastic home-based business. The Goodnight Nurse provides expert help for babies and new mothers to get through solving sleep issues. When you talk to new mums, the thing that challenges them the most with a young baby is dealing with issues around sleep. Emma Pollard is an absolute character, and she has an international following. She’s providing in-house and phone consultations, as well as running her very much sought after public workshops. She established this business in 2008. She is an absolute character; a multi-multiaward winner. From her home-based business, Emma does amazing work helping not only young babies but also toddlers with sleep and behaviour issues. What an amazing business this is. I’m very, very proud of Emma and the work that she does.

The Start-Up Business Award winner was Eco Warehouse. They are a small, family-owned business. Michael and his wife and two young boys run Eco Warehouse from Bunbury. It’s an amazing and diverse business. It has been built around a zero waste lifestyle. If you’re becoming aware of the issues and the challenges facing us, Eco Warehouse is the place to get help and advice.

In the tourism section of the small business awards was Holberry House of Nannup. Louise Stokes offers people a wonderful getaway. It was built in the late 1980s, but it was inspired by the classic two-storey Englishman manor. It’s very comfortable, it’s country style and it’s enhanced by antiques and collectibles. But mostly it’s Louise there. She is an amazing local entity in Nannup.

In the retail sector, I need to mention Stepping Out. Established in 1996, it’s a local supplier of dancewear. These are small-business people who take the opportunity and who are really good at what they do. Nicole and her team at Stepping Out are a wonderful example of that. Nicole invested her own money, she believed so strongly in this. She has filled a fabulous niche as a leading supplier of dancewear and accessories to dancers and dance schools throughout Australia. She is based in Bunbury. They have a massive range to choose from, and they are absolutely committed to delivering high-quality service. That’s what small- to medium-sized businesses do: they deliver high-quality service. I know that Sienna Deane from Stepping Out was one of the finalists in the Employee of the Year Award.

In the Industry Award for Service, 3D HR Legal, which provides special employment law services for business, were the winners. The Industry Award for Construction, Mining and Manufacturing winner was the Caravan Doctor, based out of Busselton. People can just drop off their caravans for a service, without worrying—it’s a drive-through yard. So they know their market, and that’s what small business does so well too. Like the Caravan Doctor, they know their market, provide what their customers need and people keep coming back. That’s what’s so good about small businesses.

Keep Filtration won the Aboriginal Business of the Year and the Young Achiever Award. Daniel McMillan from H&H Automotive was the Employee of the Year.

I really wanted to mention all those small businesses, not just because they won awards but because these are the people who actually had the courage to invest in a business that they believed in. Often it was a brand new business and a brand new idea, and they did it so well. The process that Business South West runs in enabling the businesses as part of the application process for this Business of the Year—going through their individual businesses—actually gives them the capacity to look at their business as well as work in their business. On the night I heard so often that that process was so valuable to each one of those small businesses, because they actually stepped back and had to look at their business almost in a hands-off approach. Those businesses that come back have all really benefitted, year after year. They have actually learnt so much about their business and what else they need to do to actually progress and grow their business and grow their actual profits. The process has been very useful.

The other thing that has also worked very, very well for them is the support they’ve received from Business South West. I want to thank Business South West for everything they’ve done for the small businesses in the whole of the south-west. Robyn Morris, as the chair of the board, and Fiona Fitzgerald and her fabulous team have offered extraordinarily valuable services. I’ve recommended them so often to small businesses in my part of the world, and they have been very, very much part of the success of many small businesses. They don’t just provide the support; they provide the care for the employees, the family members and the businesses more generally.

The measure in this bill of defining small businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million is one of the biggest issues. It’s one of the biggest things to happen to small business taxation in generations. It comes from our deep commitment, acknowledgement and understanding as a government about what small-to-medium enterprise actually is. A small business has a turnover of up to $10 million: I have quite a number of these in my electorate, and they certainly appreciate the opportunity from what’s in this bill.

Allowing businesses to grow by extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off for a further 12 months will have impacts for businesses of up to $10 million. They can repeatedly buy eligible assets costing less than $20,000 that were first used or install-ready for another year to 30 June 2019. This really matters to small business. It can be something as simple as an oven if you’re in the hospitality sector. In my electorate I have many of these types of businesses, as well as those in the small manufacturing and construction space. Each $20,000 matters and each new piece of equipment gives them the opportunity to grow their business and employ more people in my part of the world. I want to see more and more small to medium enterprises now—because they can as a result of this legislation—take advantage of this $20,000 instant asset write-off.

I will finish by saying a huge thank you to each of those small businesses. They are helping the government in its ambition to see over a million more people in work. That frequently comes back to the work and the efforts of people in small to medium businesses. I say thank you to each of them. Thank you for the fact that you actually had the courage to invest, to follow your passions, but to take a genuine commercial focus on your business—as we heard at the small business awards on Saturday night in Bunbury. Nudge Psychological Services said on the night that, at the end of their first full operating month, they made the princely profit of $1.40—I think that was the amount; I’m not 100 per cent sure, but it was some small amount—and grew their business from there. They persisted. That’s what small businesses do, and that’s why this government will continue to support their efforts.