Michael McCormack has been appointed the new dedicated Minister for Small Business and the portfolio is no longer in cabinet. McCormack assumes the post from Kelly O’Dwyer, who will now be known as Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.
Peter Strong from the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) welcomed the announcement but stressed his concern that the small business portfolio has moved from cabinet.
“Mr. McCormack has the confidence of the sector, however we are disappointed the portfolio has moved from cabinet and we will be seeking answers to why this has happened. Small business is powerful, employing around five million Australians and driving the country’s economy, so why has the portfolio moved? What’s happened and what pressures have caused this, perhaps big businesses and unions, are in play? In our opinion this is a step backwards for small business,” said Strong.
Strong concluded, “We look forward to working with Mr. McCormack and progressing good policy for small business.”
Over the past nine years Australia has had nine small business ministers.
COSBOA have highlighted some of the key issues for small business and for the future of the Australian economy, the key points are as follows:
- Competition policy and the enacting the Effects Test
- Creating a viable and effective vocational education and training system
- Confronting the two tiered workplace relation system that see big businesses and big unions manipulating legislation for their benefit not the benefit of workers or of the economy
- Inclusion of the self-employed in the health framework particularly for mental health
- Confronting manipulation of policy by these big businesses and unions
- Creation of a more efficient superannuation collection process
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has also congratulated McCormack on his new appointment, and has welcomed the Prime Minister Turnbull’s pledge to make small business engagement a key performance measure of his Government.
“Mr McCormack will be a strong advocate for the sector, particularly in rural and regional areas; I congratulate him on his new role and look forward to working with him to assist in the continued creation of policy and legislation that allows this vital sector to grow, innovate and employ,” stated Carnell.
“While the portfolio has been moved to the outer ministry, I have every confidence all ministers sitting around the Cabinet table will have small business at the forefront of their minds when it comes to making decisions impacting on the sector. As the Prime Minister himself said, ‘every minister is a minister for small business’.”
“I’d like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the outgoing Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer who has done an outstanding job in raising the profile of small business issues, particularly in highlighting the impact the recent Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) Payments Order had on mum-and-dad small business operators,” she said.
Carnell said she expects the term of the 45th Parliament to be an exciting and productive one for the small business sector.
“Certainly, the views held by the crossbench are quite diverse, but the one thing that they do all have in common is their support for small business operators.”
“Their small business policies are really strong and very positive, so there’s fertile ground there for the Government to work with the Opposition, along with the minor parties and independents, to develop and pass legislation that sets small business on the path to success both now and well into the future.
“Government is the art of the possible, and certainly the passage of legislation giving tax breaks to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million will be a huge win and a strong vote of confidence for small business.”
Carnell said she has written to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader along with the minor parties and independents, offering to work closely with them to ensure small business measures are a priority.
“I intend to make certain all MPs understand the opportunities and obstacles facing small businesses; in other words, I’ll work with all politicians so they know what small businesses need in order to simply get on with the business of running their small business.”
Image (sourced): The Guardian