21 August 2017

'Small Business White Paper Consultation', Address to the Institute of Public Accountants, Wagga Wagga


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Thanks very much Andrew (Conway, CEO Institute of Public Accountants). I very much appreciate that. I acknowledge Greg Conkey, the Mayor of Wagga Wagga and Anabel Williams and Marney Johnstone from the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber.

It’s sensational to be here, not least because it’s in my hometown. But also because we have – as a Government – been collecting as much information as we can to make it easier and better for small business.

We want you to not just thrive now, but indeed into the future. We want small business to succeed – it’s imperative for our economy that small business succeeds – and that’s certainly why we delivered another Budget for small business.

We extended the popular $20,000 instant asset write-off programme for another 12 months. And we made even more small businesses eligible by redefining what is a ‘small business’ from a $2 million turnover to a $10 million turnover.

We also lowered the company tax rate – another part of our plan – to 27.5 per cent, on a trajectory to 25 per cent. That’s the lowest it’s been since 1940, the lowest it’s been for 77 years. Both of these are pretty significant for small business.

There’s never been a more small business-friendly Government, I have to say. I have been going around the country and listening to as many small businesspeople as I can, and I just love meeting and hearing your feedback face-to-face.

There is so much support available for small business, such as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s office, headed up by Kate Carnell, which we created last year. The office is not there to work for Government, not there to work for me, but to be your advocate and to offer you assistance. It’s working for small business. It’s working for people such as small accountants. And it’s working for people who want small business to succeed.

As I say, there’s an assistance and an advocacy function. They don’t answer to me. They work on your behalf and I certainly encourage you to use them.

And of interest to you as accountants, I have to say, is some of the work of the Australian Taxation Office. Over the past few years – particularly the last couple – the ATO has really transformed the way it’s doing things. There’s its online presence, its fix-it squads the ATO app for sole traders, just to name a few. There’s so much going on.

If you’re not advising your clients – especially sole traders, plumbers, sparkies, tradies – to download the free ATO app for them, I would certainly encourage you to do so. It’s also worth encouraging them to jump online to the ATO website and take a look. There’s a lot of good things happening from small business as far as the ATO services are concerned these days.

So as I say, I have been travelling around the countryside listening to small businesses and so I commend Andrew Conway and the work you’re doing here too. It’s dove-tailing in nicely with the feedback I have been receiving and I very much look forward to receiving your white paper, Andrew.

I am sure it will fit in well with the work we are doing as a Government to help small business succeed even more.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can after this breakfast too.

Thanks very much.