Transcript - Interview with Ruby Cornish, ABC North Coast

Small business tax cuts; small business roadshow


There’s been two small business roundtable forums in Cowper today as part of the roadshow and you have been at both of them. How did they go today?


Really well. We had upwards of 30 small business owners and operators at each of the roundtables. This is part of the national Small Business Roadshow which is going through every State and every Territory – every remote corner of Australia – talking to small business, but more importantly listening. Listening to what their issues and concerns are in their local communities.

We heard at both forums today about the need to do even more work as far as red tape is concerned. We have certainly taken that on board. But certainly small business is very, very pleased with the tax cuts which came into play a couple of weeks ago, passed through the Senate, which is really important.


Now that’s back-dated to 1 July last year and what that does is it enables more small businesses – small businesses now up to an annual turnover of $10 million – to take advantage of the lowest corporate tax rate in half a century. But also to take advantage of the instant asset write off so they can buy new capital equipment for their firms up to $20,000. That has been really well received.

So we are out talking to small businesses and – as I say – more importantly listening to them, their issues and concerns and then going back to Canberra, Luke Hartsuyker and I, and acting upon them.


Is it tough doing business in this part of the world, when we get into regional areas? There’s challenges that are specific to businesses out of metropolitan centres?


There are always going to be challenges for any small business, but that’s why we are simplifying the process to start up a small business. That’s why there are things available to help start up a small business, like the mentoring and coaching programme that’s available through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.

That’s why we are doing so much in this space to make it possible, to make it achievable, to start up a small business in a regional area. There has never been a better time to start a business up in the regions. Agricultural prices are the highest they have ever been. There’s lower cost of living pressures in a regional centre as opposed to a metropolitan area. Land is cheaper. Utilities are cheaper. There’s never been a better time to start up a small business.

I’m on the Coffs Coast at the moment and in this area –I’m a regional MP, the first regional MP to have this portfolio in history – and so I understand what it’s like, as does Luke Hartsuyker. We have both run small businesses. We are both regional MPs. We understand the issues facing people wanting to start up a small business, but that’s why we are advocating for and on their behalf. And the Government is making it easier for people to start a small business in a regional area.


Was there any feedback that took you by surprise that you might not have been expecting?


There’s always interesting feedback. But look by and large I think people were pretty happy with the tax cuts they’re getting. I think they are pretty happy with the concessions they are receiving.

And they understand that we are a Government that backs small business. We are a Government that largely wants to get out of the way of small business. Certainly we want to ease the compliance regime that all small business is under.

But by and large we are trying to get out of the way as much as possible, simply to let small business do what it does best. And that underpins the regional economies they’re in. 

Cristy Houghton