Thursday, 3 November 2011
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation. How does the minerals resource rent tax help small businesses in my community and communities all across Australia? What are the challenges that small businesses face and how is the government addressing these?
I would like to thank the member for Moreton for his question. He is very supportive of the minerals resource rent resource tax—and why wouldn't he be?—51,500 of his constituents are going to get their superannuation lifted courtesy of the government.
Indeed, this government does believe in small business. We understand that small business is about people. We understand that small business wants to be able to have the time on Sunday to be with their families rather than filling in forms. The Prime Minister of Australia said on 16 September that she understood that owning a small business, the aspiration of being your own boss, is part of the Australian DNA. Indeed, we understand on this side of the House that small business provided 190,000 jobs during the global financial crisis between June 2009 and June 2010.
Mr Frydenberg interjecting—
Of course, it is not just our words which we have for evidence of our support for small business; we have some hard evidence, and it is called the minerals resource rent tax. What a ripper for small business. What unreservedly good news, because there is only one side of Australian politics which wants to lower their tax rate from 30 per cent to 29 per cent. There is only one side of Australian politics which wants to help 2.7 million small businesses. We want to give them a $1 billion tax break. We are the ones with the ideas to help small business. Indeed, we also want to make sure that the motor vehicle write-off for small business—
Mr Laming interjecting—
There is another $5K for small business there—every small business. If you buy that $33,000 ute and the MRRT gets passed, there is $1,275 back in your pocket, helping small business.
I am asked: what are the challenges to small business? Two challenges come to mind as I look across at the opposition. One of the challenges to small business is the opposition. Never in the history of the Australian Federation would I have imagined a situation where, while the mining companies are willing to pay the tax, there is only one group in Australia which wants to give $11 billion back to the miners, and that is those opposite. This crowd opposite would watch the film Robin Hood and back the Sheriff of Nottingham. But there is another threat.
Opposition members interjecting—
I see that arrow struck home! There is another threat to small business. It is the threat of unpredictable, disproportionate, precipitate, rogue industrial action. That is always a threat to small business—
Honourable members interjecting—
As the Minister for Tourism said, there are many small businesses in tourism, and what a terrible weekend they had courtesy of the rogue action and the lockout by Qantas. The Accommodation Association of Australia has reported $10 million lost—the cancelled rooms, the conferences, the travel and the pre-existing staff rosters which have to be honoured. But it is not just tourism. Queensland and Australia lost $1.4 billion in tourism in the first quarter of this year. Just as they are getting over that hump, struggling back, they get a Qantas made tsunami of economic disorder rained upon them. How can small business cope when the national carrier is locking out its staff?
I think the best summary of the challenges to small business comes from none other than Ita Buttrose. She tweeted: 'I'm very disappointed in the Qantas board and its chairman.' (Time expired)