Small businesses in my community

11 August 2015

Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (19:53): It is always really pleasing to see the member for Hindmarsh have a great time in this House, because he will not be here for long. If the people of Hindmarsh want someone who actually cares about jobs and small business, we have got just the guy. What is his name? Steve Georganas. He is coming after you! It is good to see the member for Hindmarsh laughing, because he will not be here long. You are here for a good time, not for a long time, Member for Hindmarsh.

It is great, as always, to follow the great member for Charlton. One of your colleagues, the new Speaker, did me a great favour today—the great privilege of mixing me up with the member for Charlton! He said that we looked alike. We have since agreed that he can be Arnold Schwarzenegger and I can be Danny DeVito when it comes to Twins! It is a real privilege to be mixed up with the member for Charlton.

But, more seriously, the member for Charlton knows what he is talking about when it comes to jobs in our community and, indeed, right around our country. He makes a lot of sense when it comes to jobs. He was right to point out that, for the first time in more than 20 years, there are more than 800,000 people unemployed in our country, which the Assistant Treasurer thinks is funny. But 800,000 people unemployed for the first time since 1994 is no joke whatsoever. The unemployment rate is higher today than it was during the global financial crisis. As far as I am concerned, instead of laughing, those opposite should hang their heads in shame. The reason I am so pleased to support this motion on small business is that small business is the hope of the side when it comes to creating jobs in our community.

As I told the assembled crowd at the Logan Chamber of Commerce Business Awards a couple of weeks ago we salute and we cherish small business for one reason above all others and that is that they create jobs in our communities. In my community and the communities of the member for Charlton and the member for Bendigo, small business is doing a great job: creating jobs. At the awards night, I had the pleasure of sponsoring the Emerging Business Award, which was won by the M1 Business Centre. I want to take this opportunity to, again, congratulate Alicia, Tanayha and Brooke. Two of them were there to accept the award.

I sponsored the Emerging Business Award because it takes guts to go out and set up a small business, to take the risks. There are of course rewards but there are many risks with setting up a small business. The rewards are shared broadly when it comes to creating jobs, as I said, but they also create prosperity and more innovation. All of these things that, I think, both sides of the House can agree on are important.

Unlike the member for Hughes—who also happens to be the Deputy Speakernow—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): Very awkward!

Mr Conroy interjecting—

Dr CHALMERS: An unusual twist; it is a bit awkward, as the member for Charlton says. However, I have not deluded myself into thinking this Abbott government—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure you will not reflect on the chair.

Dr CHALMERS: Of course not, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have not deluded myself into thinking the Abbott government have been unquestionably good for small business. They destroyed confidence with that first budget; that is a fact. You can see it in the various business surveys. They originally abolished the instant asset write-off—a policy that I was proud to work on, with the member for Charlton and others. They knocked off the accelerated depreciation of motor vehicles. All these things were very damaging for confidence, investor confidence and small business confidence in our community.

So when the member for Hughes and his colleagues go around patting themselves on the back for their small business policy, let us not forget that they are celebrating reinstating Labor policy.

When the member for Hughes was up that end of the chamber, rather than at this end of the chamber, he was talking about these disastrous socialist Labor policies. These are the policies that the government have just copied in the most recent budget and they want to be congratulated for it. They abolished them, they reinstated them in an inferior form and they now want to be congratulated for this triumph of public policy making by reinstating the policies that the member for Hughes, in the last half an hour, described as disastrous. Their political approach to small business, the way that they have created such uncertainty in the small business sector and the economy really says it all. That is especially true, I think, when it comes to green businesses. In my electorate there is a small but growing band of renewable energy and green businesses, which are small. They will one day be big, because they understand something that the government does not and that is that renewable energy is a tremendous source of jobs and investment into the future.

I want to support those renewable energy companies—those green companies—in my electorate, particularly the smaller ones. Labor has a wide-ranging approach. We will deliver the NBN. We will support small businesses in the renewable sector. We will lower the small business tax rate to 25 per cent, down from 30, and we will develop a culture of innovation in this country, because we want an economy that is powered by the aspirations, the creativity, the ideas and the hard work of all the small businesses which make our economy stronger than it would otherwise be.