Page 1840 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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the ACT. Those who have payrolls above the threshold have been given a payroll tax cut of $25,000. It is interesting Mr Wall never mentions $25,000-a-year payroll tax cuts when he talks about tax reform.

By raising the threshold, we have removed business entirely from the payroll tax system, and that is the point. We have the highest payroll tax-free threshold, three times that of New South Wales. So for those jurisdictions that have payroll tax thresholds where businesses with payrolls of $600,000 start paying tax, compared to the ACT’s of $1.85 million, there is a very clear distinction. If you move across the border to New South Wales you will be paying more payroll tax if you are a small business operator. Having the highest payroll tax-free threshold in Australia assists small businesses to grow, and Mr Wall makes my point perfectly. How many small businesses pay payroll tax in the ACT? Not many, because we have the highest payroll tax-free threshold in the nation.

We have made changes to the way the government purchases goods and services to provide better access for local and medium-size enterprises to participate in government procurement. We have established the local industry advocate. If work can be done by local businesses we should ensure we are building capacity and economic activity in our city. It is essential we do not over-engineer our procurement processes to reward certain players ahead of others for no practical reason.

As important as all of this support is, ensuring we are consistent with our program of red tape reduction and regulatory reform is another priority for my government. It is particularly important for small business owners—that is acknowledged—and we want to ensure there is less time spent complying with regulation and more time spent growing businesses. As I have already mentioned, there is no denying that many small businesses have been doing it tough in the wake of the massive cuts made by the commonwealth government. However, our local enterprises and small businesses are resilient. We continue to see many new businesses forming in the territory at a rate faster than a number of states see business formation. Their aspirations and ambitions have not been dulled by the federal attacks of the past two years.

One example I would like to share with the Assembly today is Enabled Employment, a company with a unique approach to using flexible arrangements to enable highly capable people with a disability to find productive and well-paid employment. Enabled Employment is a unique business model that brings together highly capable people with a disability and employers searching for these skill sets.

Mr Wall: You keep holding up this one example. One example! You use it; Joy uses it; Mick used it.

MR BARR: It is disappointing the shadow small business minister seeks to interject and belittle this organisation. This group, as of April 2015, had 1,359 clients for placement, 98 registered employers and 85 jobs advertised. Employers include a range of organisations from high end corporates and government agencies to small and medium-size companies. Its private sector clients include companies like Aspen Medical. Enabled Employment is one of the first businesses to go through the Griffin accelerator program, an initiative of a group of ACT entrepreneurs who are prepared

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