2 November 2015
Transcript - #2015065, 2015

In the role of: Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer [21 September 2015 - 18 July 2016]

Interview with Leon Byner, 5AA

SUBJECTS: Shop Small launch, GST.

LEON BYNER:

Let’s talk to the Small Business Minister this morning who has a real initiative going on getting you and I, when we shop, to go to a small and medium local business. Kelly thank you for joining us today, now tell me about this small business use your local shop initiative. What are you asking Australians to do?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are asking Australians to shop small so that when they are thinking about purchasing a gift for a friend, when they are thinking about getting their Christmas shopping done that they go to their local shop in their local area and they back small business. There are more than two million small businesses across Australia and those small businesses employ around about four and a half million Australians, and contribute $340 billion to our economy. If we support them, we are supporting our economy growing, we are supporting them creating more jobs and we are supporting more opportunity.

BYNER:

Is the Australian Government encouraging all its departments to procure in exactly the same way?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Yes, we certainly have procurement policies that encourage our departments to…

BYNER:

No, I didn’t actually ask you that. Procurement policies at the moment are controversial because Mathias Cormann says that you can’t favour under these arrangements because it might offend free trade local businesses so I’m just trying to reconcile how that works with advising the Australian community to do something which governments appear to be reluctant to do.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We always purchase from businesses that can give the best value to the taxpayer and there are often a lot of guidelines around that and we support many small businesses in terms of government procurement. That is something that the Government will continue to do and we are encouraging people out there in the community to do likewise. In fact, Government is backing small business. We announced in the Budget a tax cut for small business, a 1.5 per cent company tax cut and while there are a lot of small businesses that are companies, there are a lot that aren’t companies as well, Leon, and for those we’ve got a 5 per cent tax discount for unincorporated small business, because you’re right we believe it’s important to give small businesses a leg up so that they can do what they do best which is helping to employ people and to grow our economy.

BYNER:

So what do you make of Senator Cormann’s assertion that procuring locally is somewhat difficult because it might offend some of the terms and conditions in free trade agreements.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Well I haven’t heard him make that statement, Leon. What I do know is that the Government is absolutely behind small business. That’s why we’ve made the announcement of the tax cut in the Budget. That’s why we’re delivering that. That’s also why we’ve got, for the next two years from the Budget until the first of July 2017, an instant asset write off for small businesses that are investing in assets less than $20,000 so that they can reinvest in their businesses and get a tax benefit for doing that. There’s no limit to the number of assets that they can purchase but it does mean that for the optometrist, I’m currently here in Higgins at the moment for the launch for this campaign, I’m sitting in an optometrist’s shop here…

BYNER:

Yes.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

…and he this year purchased a computer so that that can help him with his small business and it is part of the instant asset write off that the Government is delivering.

BYNER:

Well I wish you well in this campaign. One other question, is there discussion coming up soon on this business of overtime particularly on weekends and Sundays, has been raised on a number of occasions and I believe there is going to be quite a bit of discussion. Where do you stand on this?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It is raised with me, Leon, everywhere I go. When I speak to small businesses that would like to open on Sunday, they say it is very difficult for them to employ people on a Sunday because of the cost and often if they open it’s them, the small business owner that is actually working those particular hours which can make it very difficult for people with their families. The Government is very conscience that this is a significant issue for small business. We want to make sure that people can open on Sundays if they choose to.

BYNER:

So what do you plan to do? What do you plan to change to try and make this happen?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

The Fair Work Commission actually sets the penalty rates.

BYNER:

Yes.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

The Government doesn’t do that the Fair Work Commission does that.

BYNER:

No you don’t but surely the Government would make a submission though would they not?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Well at the moment we are gathering the facts and the Productivity Commission is conducting a review that will hand down its recommendations and its final report to Government in November. We’ll evaluate that and at that point, Leon, we will take it from there and I’d be happy to have a chat to you about that once we have got that report in our hands.

BYNER:

Kelly, thank you for joining us.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Terrific, thanks Leon.