Page 1835 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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If you are proud of your budget, if you are proud of your initiatives, surely you would be proud to stand up in front of business in this town and say, “This is what we represent.” Andrew Barr will not do that with the opposition there, because the opposition will point out the failings from the ACT government—which are many.

As I say, this is good news in the federal budget, and it compensates for much of the failure we have seen here locally by the ACT government. We will see the lowest small business company tax rate in almost 50 years. That is great news for small business. There are tax cuts of 1.5 per cent—that is down to 28.5 per cent—for incorporated small businesses with annual turnovers of up to $2 million. That is fantastic news.

Unincorporated small businesses will get a five per cent tax discount of up to $1,000 a year. Small businesses can claim an immediate tax deduction for each and every asset purchased up to $20,000 from Tuesday night through to 30 June 2017. I am sure you would agree, Madam Deputy Speaker, that that is great news for small business. Start-ups will be allowed to immediately deduct professional expenses, providing cash flow benefits, and there are expanding tax concessions for employee share schemes. That is fantastic, I think we would all agree, in terms of immediate tax relief to support cash flow for small businesses. It is their money. They now can actually use their money to spend on developing, enhancing and growing their businesses. That means economic growth, productivity and jobs, jobs, jobs.

The growth we are going to see includes measures to reduce red tape and regulatory impediments that hinder small business growth. There are changes to the fringe benefits tax system which will expand the FBT exemption for work-related portable electronic devices. As I see the Chief Minister on his portable electronic device, as well as Mr Gentleman, I am sure they can appreciate how important that will be to small business. We have seen reforms to capital gains tax. Rollover will enable small businesses to change the legal structure of their businesses without incurring a liability.

The government will consult on potential changes to the Corporations Act to reduce compliance costs and make it easier for small proprietary companies to raise new capital. Start-ups will be immediately able to deduct professional expenses incurred when they begin a business, such as legal expenses for establishing a company trust or partnership, rather than writing it off over five years. Again, this is about cash flow. And it is their money.

Streamlined business registration processes will make it quicker and simpler to set up a new business, and a single online registration site will be developed for business registration, including company registration. And the government will remove obstacles to crowd-sourced equity funding to help promote small businesses’ access to finance by increasing the availability of innovative sources of funding.

From 1 July 2015 expanded tax concessions for employee share schemes will make it easier for small start-up companies to attract and retain the skills and talent that they need to grow.

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