27 May 2020

The Turnbull Government will hand down its Budget on May 8, and I will host Labor’s Shadow Minister for Finance, Dr Jim Chalmers, the following week to discuss its impacts on Central Coast businesses.

Labor is sometimes criticised as being anti-business, but that is far from the truth.

My interest in our business community started almost a decade ago when I joined the board of the Wyong Regional Chamber of Commerce as a Wyong Shire Council delegate.

On the Council, I was also successful in introducing a Local Preference Policy to support local businesses.

I was asked to join the board of the Wyong Community Bendigo Bank in 2009 and continued in that volunteer role until the 2013 Federal election.

But my experience in small business started much earlier.

My first job was in a small business – my parents’ coffee shop in Wyong – where I washed dishes as a teenager.

Now, as a local MP, I have made it my business to get to know business people in my community, and the stories I hear are inspiring.

Our local business people are prepared to back themselves and have a go. While business is not easy, it is clearly rewarding, and I want to do all I can to support them.

We have more than 20,000 businesses on the Coast, and 97 per cent of those are small businesses, employing fewer than 20 people.

In fact, 55 per cent are sole traders – much like the small business my parents had in Wyong.

The Government is set to hand down the Budget and its priorities will be clear. It is not my view that a tax cut for multinationals is the right choice. I can’t see how that would benefit small businesses in our community.

What I believe would benefit businesses in our community – and in fact everyone in our community – is to back what we most value: schools, apprentices, TAFE and infrastructure.

Building public infrastructure creates jobs.

Funding schools, apprentices and TAFE and provides the skilled workers businesses need to hire.

Labor has suggested ways to improve the Budget bottom line.

We have put forward changes to the taxation of trusts; reforms to  capital gains; changes to superannuation concessions; crackdowns on multinational tax avoidance; and a cap on deductions for managing tax affairs.

We do not believe for a minute that a $65billion tax cut to big businesses and multinationals is what is needed to repair the budget.

It is unfair.

There is no guarantee it will create the conditions needed for more jobs – real, secure, proper jobs and careers.

With almost one in five young people on the Coast looking for work, surely helping people gain skills and jobs is a priority.

Business needs certainty and business needs a strong economy, which is why putting more money in the pockets of people in our community will benefit business.

Wages growth is barely keeping up with inflation and many in our community are struggling with higher costs of living.

But a $65billion tax cut for big business is not the answer.

 “Budget for Business” with Jim Chalmers will be held at Nexus Smart Hub, North Wyong, on Tuesday, May 15, 9am-10am. Phone 4353 0127 or email [email protected] to attend.

This was published in Central Coast Business Access April 2018