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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1959..

MS BURCH: I withdraw any reference to you as Mr Hanson.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, resume your seat.

Mr Hargreaves: I don't have to wear that insult, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, you are now on a warning for unnecessary conduct in question time. Mr Doszpot, I am afraid that we have had all the supplementaries we can on this question.


MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Can the minister please outline to the Assembly what the government is doing to create the right business environment for businesses in the ACT?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. Members would be aware that this week the government released our business development strategy: Growth, diversification and jobs. The strategy is aimed at growing the local economy and supporting local businesses and local jobs. I know Mr Hargreaves's very strong passion for the growth of business in Tuggeranong, and there are many elements contained within the strategy that will be very good for the growth of employment in the Tuggeranong Valley in particular.

The government is seeking to play its role in creating the right environment for businesses to grow and flourish. We are doing this through a number of key initiatives, the first of which is to provide a substantial payroll tax cut to ACT businesses. Last night the Chief Minister announced that the government will raise the threshold at which businesses will become liable for payroll tax from $1.5 million to $1.75 million, effective from 1 July 2012. This will give the ACT the highest payroll tax threshold in the nation and will also make the ACT the lowest taxing jurisdiction for small and medium sized enterprises. In fact, all business with a payroll of up to $4.7 million will be better off being located in the ACT.

Under the government's tax policy an extra 115 ACT businesses will no longer pay any payroll tax. This will allow those businesses to employ up to five extra people before being eligible for payroll tax, so remission. This will create the conditions to allow for an additional 575 jobs to be created by the private sector. Additionally from the increase in the threshold, 1,865 ACT businesses will receive a tax cut, reducing the costs for private sector employers to take on new employees. This is undoubtedly great news for small and medium sized enterprises in the territory. It reduces their tax burden, it allows them to grow, and it makes Canberra an even better place to do business.

The government is also committed to making it easier for small and medium sized enterprises in Canberra and the region to win business with the territory government. The government recognises the importance of supporting our local and regional SMEs and will be introducing new evaluation criteria for goods and services tenders that put

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