26 April 2017

Address at the Australian Dental Industry Association office opening, Alexandria, Sydney


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Good morning, everyone. It's great to be here — an honour, in fact — as you officially open your new headquarters here in Alexandria.

I have been on a roadshow of small business over the past few weeks to highlight the cuts in the company tax cuts for small business and to listen to their feedback.

No matter the small business, its size or location, the passion of Australia's small businesspeople is inspiring.

And it's days like today which remind me of the most inspiring part of my job – that every small business is the realisation of someone's dream.

So I am honoured to be here today and help celebrate the realisation of your dream and hear of your plans for the future.

So let me – on behalf of the Australian Government –congratulate the ADIA's board, executive and its members on this spectacular new home you've created.

It's really something. And it's easy to see this place humming with activity in the coming weeks as you open your meeting spaces not only to members but also to not-for-profits in the wider healthcare sector.

Boosting small business

So, clearly, this is an association with big ambitions.

What's more, it matches the ambitions of the many small manufacturers and suppliers of dental products the ADIA represents.

Many are here now. And I want to congratulate all of you.

You're small businesses which want to grow. And that's exactly what the Government wants for you, too.

For us, it's about conviction, not convenience.

Jobs don't come about through the heavy-hand of government. They're not created with red tape, or instruction.

We know it is small business – not Government – which creates jobs.

We know if Australians are to enjoy more jobs and more growth — as they should — we need to support our hard-working, enterprising small businesses.

That's why we have a plan for boosting small business, to give you an even brighter future.

And so I want to take the opportunity to take you through a few aspects of that plan.

Corporate tax

I'll start with the Government's plan for lowering company tax.

A few weeks ago we delivered the first part of that plan – a cut in the small business tax rate to its lowest level in 50 years.

This is something for which the ADIA — led by Troy Williams — has been advocating .

And I thank you for that support.

You all know we live in a hyper-competitive world. And that's no surprise — most of you are in the thick of it.

Dental product manufacturers are, every day, vying with overseas competitors. That's in addition, of course, to the never-ending race for overseas capital to fund research and development.

Every country wants a bigger slice of the pie. And Australia has to be competitive.

That's why the Government developed a 10-year enterprise plan to reduce company tax to 25 per cent.

As I said, we recently took a giant step forward when we secured the first part of the plan: a reduction in the tax rate for small and medium businesses to 27.5 per cent, the lowest it's been for 50 years.

It's a change which benefits 3.1 million businesses, including nine of every 10 businesses in the dental industry.

Lower tax means more incentive. More incentive means more effort. More effort means and bigger and better results.

And then everyone wins.

Importantly, we have also redefined what it means to be a small business, expanding it to those with a turnover of up to $10 million, up from the previous threshold of up to $2 million.

It means tens of thousands more businesses can access the tax cuts, as well as other benefits such as the instant asset write-off. So, in short, more businesses are being rewarded for their hard work.

For your hard work.

Because we know you are the ones who help grow our economy.

Red tape and regulation

So that's what is happening on the tax front. But I also want to highlight our approach to red tape and regulation.

Now, on my Small Businesses Roadshow, which I mentioned earlier, I've travelled to cities and towns right around the country.

I've spoken directly with a great number of small business owners.

And, you know, it doesn't matter whether I'm in Penrith or Port Macquarie, as I was last week. I always hear the same thing.

"You've got to do more about red tape."

Of course, some regulation does serve a purpose. It can, if done right, make things easier. It can even make things better.

But in too many cases, it becomes unnecessary red tape. It strangles the enterprising spirit we should be encouraging.

I ran my own small business for eight years, so I know that it is a passion – not paperwork – which drives you to pursue your dream.

That's something the ADIA understands well. I know you've been vocal in pointing out some of the regulatory burdens on manufacturers and suppliers in this sector.

So, the good news is the Government is doing something about it.

We've been cutting red tape wherever we can — in fact, more than $5.8 billion worth since 2013 — and simplifying paperwork, too.

For example, we're making Business Activity Statement — or BAS — reporting easier and cheaper, as it should be.

So as of 1 July this year, small businesses will only need to report GST information on their BAS for GST on sales, on purchases and total sales.

Additionally, a simpler BAS will reduce GST bookkeeping and reporting requirements — making things easier and quicker.

So we're making good progress. But there's more to do, and we'll continue to make progress. And that's because, as with our passion for small business, it comes down to conviction, not convenience.

Other policies

Of course, that's not all the Government's doing for small business. We have a big agenda — and it's too big to cover today.

But before I finish, I do want to talk about a couple of highlights.

Last year, we extended the unfair contract terms protections in the Australian Consumer Law to small businesses — a move that gives small businesses a 'fair go' when dealing with 'take it or leave it' contracts.

What it essentially means is small businesses will be able to have an unfair term in a standard form contract declared void if — at the time of agreement — it has fewer than 20 employees and the contract doesn't exceed $300,000, or $1 million for contracts longer than 12 months.

It's an important change — a much-needed change.

So are the changes we're making to drive innovation.

From top to bottom — whether it's removing barriers to crowd-sourced equity funding or expanding the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme — it's all aimed at encouraging people to go with their gut; to take their idea and go for it.

Concluding remarks

This is just a snapshot, but it shows you how serious we are about small business.

Taken as a whole, the Government's plan for small business is about setting the scene. It's about getting the conditions right and, wherever possible, getting government out of the way.

That's because we know — we've always known — that governments simply have no business in business.

That's your job. And it's up to you to make a success of it.

So thank you, once again, to the ADIA for inviting me to be a part of this very special day, and congratulations for this brilliant new home.

It's a sign of the strength which exists in the sector. And I know that in the coming years these facilities will help support the sector as it grows and enjoys an even brighter future.

Thank you, and well done.