2 November 2015
Transcript - #2015066, 2015

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

Doorstop interview, Melbourne

SUBJECTS: Shop Small launch, GST.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I am here in the heart of Greville Street in Melbourne which is the shopping mecca of Australia to launch the national campaign for Shop Small. We are encouraging all Australians to get out there and support small business because when you back small business, small business backs you. The Government is backing small business with a 1.5 per cent cut in the company tax rate and a 5 per cent discount for unincorporated corporations. For those small businesses who want to invest in new assets there is now a $20,000 instant asset write off for those people making purchases up until the first of July 2017. We are also reducing regulation, getting rid of more than 450,000 people who would currently be covered by the threshold for PAYG, and now we are reducing that regulation to the value of around about $67 million. So government is getting behind small business and we are encouraging you to get behind small business too.

JOURNALIST:

How important are small businesses to the Australian economy?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Absolutely critical to the Australian economy. There are more than two million small businesses employing 4.5 million Australians. The contribution it makes to the Australian economy is around about $340 billion each and every year.

JOURNALIST:

How do you think small businesses will receive an increase in GST to 15 per cent?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

There is a lot of speculation that is going on at the moment regarding tax and tax changes. Let me make it very, very clear - the GST is a state tax, the Commonwealth collects it but every single dollar goes to the states. The Treasurer is currently having discussions with state Treasurers about their tax mix and whether they have got it right at the moment and whether they can do things more efficiently or better. We are not looking to increase taxes overall, what we are looking to do is making sure that the taxes that we have in this country are fit for purpose.  That they encourage people to work more, to save more, and to invest more in their futures, and we are having that conversation at the moment, consultation is going on.

JOURNALIST:

Do you believe the recent change in Liberal leadership has boosted confidence among small businesses?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We have certainly seen the best business conditions in the last seven and a half years which is a tremendous thing for small business. Business is often about confidence and where we can have confident businesses investing more in their business and creating new jobs is going to have a powerful impact on our economy growing our national economy to even greater heights.

JOURNALIST:

How serious is this – the increase to the GST of 15 per cent. Is it going to be floated before the election or something the Government will take to the election?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I think I have responded to that question in my previous answer.

JOURNALIST:

With the NAB’s latest quarterly small business confidence report it actually revealed confidence fell in the September quarter, how can this event Shop Small actually boost confidence amongst small businesses right across Australia?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It can put the focus on small business and it is important for us to focus on small business because the small businesses that are here not only in Greville Street which range from cafes, to bars, to hairdressers, to magazine sellers, you name it we have got it here, that’s true right across Australia. Small business is a microcosm of the rest of Australia. So in supporting small business, you are supporting employment and you are supporting growth in our economy.

JOURNALIST:

The Prime Minister when he pitched to become the Prime Minister talked about being upfront with Australians explaining things, is the Government explaining its position on GST clearly at the moment?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

The Government has made it very clear that we are in conversations with the state Treasurers; we have made it very clear that we are not ruling anything in or out. We believe that the Australian people are up for a mature, sensible, and rational discussion about our tax mix and our tax base. It is pretty unbelievable to think that the average taxpayer is going to be in the second highest tax bracket in the not too distant future.  We asked the question is that right and I think most Australians would say probably not. Thank you.