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Minister Billson Outlines Government Achievements in 2014; plans for 2015

(Ministerial Statement, 24 December 2014)

"The Abbott Government believes small businesses and family enterprise are the economic life blood of the country.  Small Business and family enterprise play a key role in supporting growth and economic opportunity and we are committed to see them prosper.

Across the Small Business portfolio we are delivering on every single one of our election commitments. Many have already been implemented, with the remaining few well underway.

The hard working women and men of small business deserve this positive action from their Government, and we will continue to deliver strong policy outcomes for this vital sector of our economy. Our Government is made up of many members who come from small business backgrounds – farmers, shopkeepers, accountants, and hotel owners. With this first hand knowledge guiding our decision making, we are supporting small business with a whole of government approach.

During 2014 we have:

  • Appointed a dedicated Small Business Minister in Cabinet
  • Abolished the carbon tax
  • Cut over $2 billion in red and green tape costs
  • Undertaken an independent ‘root and branch’ review of the competition framework
  • Reformed the national Franchising Code
  • Signed Free Trade Agreements to benefit local small business with China, Japan and Korea
  • Established the $484.2 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, providing practical support for businesses including advice from people with relevant private sector experience; small co-contributions for re-engineering or growth opportunities for business; and connection and collaboration opportunities.
  • Provided an additional $304.1 million over four years from 2014 15 to boost the wage subsidy for mature age job seekers, through a Restart Programme.
  • Protected the privacy of home based businesses
  • Implemented a dedicated small business support line within Fair Work which has received 100,000 calls in 8 months
  • Developed a ‘Your First’ employee guide to help time poor small businesses understand what to do when they hire new employees
  • Moved to make it easier for small businesses to supply their products and services to Government with a new Commonwealth Contract Suite
  • Delivered a new Single Business Service which streamlines the way businesses access in Industry information and services by putting their needs first
  • Moved the small business department from Industry to Treasury
  • Oversaw the historic Right to Repair Heads of Agreement between participants in the automotive supply and service industry to ensure consumers are provided with the right information to make informed decisions when it comes to the repair and servicing of their vehicles
  • Activated the Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace relations
  • Activated the Productivity Commission inquiry into Small Business entry and exits
In addition to these actions small business operators are now able to rely on advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman, without fear of prosecution should the information provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman be incorrect.

In addition to these achievements for 2015, we are:
  • Extending unfair contract protections for small business
  • Deferring by two years the increase in compulsory employer-funded superannuation
  • Helping small business attract good workers by providing their employees with access to the Coalition’s landmark paid parental leave scheme
  • Removing from small business the requirement to administer the government’s paid parental leave scheme.
  • Protecting the rights of independent contractors and the self-employed
  • Working with the financial sector to improve access to small business finance
  • Creating a Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
  • Ensuring Government pays their Small Businesses accounts on time
  • Cutting the company tax rate by 1.5% as of July 2015"

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