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Interview - ABC Central Coast with Scott Levi

Ministers:

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business

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SCOTT LEVI:

The Minister for Small Business in the Federal Government, Stuart Robert, to take us through some of the incentives in the Budget for small business. You may not be aware of what is available to you, and Mr Robert’s currently at a small business in Terrigal. Good morning.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Scott, how are you? 

SCOTT LEVI:

Yeah, going really well. For business people listening to this, and there are plenty of them, what are some of the incentives for them to keep going in the budget? Because we know they're the powerhouse of the economy, don't we?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Small business is superb – 16,500 here on the Central Coast, Scott. And we know that small business employs 50 per cent of all Australians. And the overarching or the big issue that I’m really keen for your listeners to hear is the, the tax cuts. The tax rate for incorporated small businesses drops to 25 per cent from 1 July. For those residents who are working in small businesses, so 55,000 will be receiving the low and middle income tax offset, which will see tax benefits of up to $2,750. And of course, we've extended all of the assets depreciation – write off any asset you purchase, as well as what’s called a loss carry back, so you can actually claim past losses on your future income, and we've extended that to the 22-23 financial year. So a lot of financial support to help small businesses.

SCOTT LEVI:

How do they find out more about this? Particularly, I guess, the tax things come to them through the tax office? But those asset write off arrangements, how do they find out about that?

MINISTER ROBERT:

The easiest way is simply to Google “budget small business” and it will come up in terms of the range of measures in very simple formats that, that outline the various budget measures and how they, how they list out. But, as you quite rightly say, there’s up to, like, six or seven hundred measures in the budget. But the key big ones, the tax reductions, the low and middle income tax offsets, the loss carry backs, the advanced depreciation – all of those are the key headlines, and that's what moves the dial. 

SCOTT LEVI:

Can you give examples of loss carry back and advanced depreciation? What, what does that sound like in a practical sense? What's the scenario?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well, depreciation, for example if, say, I was running a doughnut shop – which is where I'm heading to next – and I need to buy $20,000 oven, normally I would depreciate that over seven years – different timelines for different assets, of course, in the tax system. But the idea of, of advanced depreciation is I can depreciate the whole thing at once and claim it as a single deduction. Which means I would get, in this case, 25 per cent of the value back because I’m paying 25 cents on the dollar. In terms of loss carry back, if I had a very bad year last year in small business – and so many small businesses did – and I had a loss, rather than, than that loss just being a profit loss for that year, I could bring that loss forward against future gains, that way it would negate the extent of that loss and therefore I'd have more money to invest in my business. They’re the initiatives we’re really backing small business in on.

SCOTT LEVI:

When it comes to training and skills shortages and the like, we talk to TAFE teachers quite regularly. They believe that this philosophy to privatise – and I think governments are coming around to it, too – it hasn't been great. Some instances have worked, but there've been some shockers, haven't there? Can we get back to that TAFE? A great Aussie initiative, and it's really been a proven area of training. Can we start to bolster them up a bit more?

MINISTER ROBERT:

Well TAFEs are run by the state governments, so…

SCOTT LEVI:

[Interrupts] Yeah, but you fund the state governments. So obviously, that philosophy of privatisation has cut across different governments as well. I'm not saying that that's just something that the Liberals have done, Labor did it, too. But it seems from what we're hearing from tutors – for example, a bricklaying tutor who said he used to have two assistants who could clean up the bricks so they could do the practical things, he went to one – he did a bit of a covert work, went to one of these backyard training providers, and they were just a sham. Surely we need to, to get better skills out there?

MINISTER ROBERT:

No question about it. That’s why there's $4 billion for skilling an extra 170,000 apprentices, an extra 160,000 trainees. So, we’re backing in the skills shortage 100 per cent in terms of training. Only 20 per cent of training in the country is delivered by TAFEs, so, 80 per cent is through registered training organisations. And TAFEs are fully funded by state governments and they're responsible for ensuring that those organisations are funded. And we’re always going to have a mix between public training providers and private. And like all things, there are good and bad businesses and there are good and bad public and private providers – that’s why we have ASQA, the regulator, to sort that through. But we’re always going to have a mix. But when it comes to TAFE funding, that is a state responsibility, and if people have got concerns about their TAFE funding, they should speak to their state MP.

SCOTT LEVI:

All right. Thanks so much for joining us. 

MINISTER ROBERT:

Great to talk to you.

SCOTT LEVI:

And don't eat too many of those doughnuts, maybe just the holes.

MINISTER ROBERT:

I think that’s a cracker of advice in that respect, although they are, they are very good doughnuts. And I'm looking forward to see what the Daily Dough Company puts up in Terrigal.

SCOTT LEVI:

All right. So many puns that you can run there too, visiting a doughnut shop. Thanks for your time.

MINISTER ROBERT:

Thanks, Scott. Cheers.