Shadow Minister for Small Business Jenny Aitchison MP, Member for Maitland, has slammed the Berejiklian Government’s 2019 State Budget as a lacklustre document that does little to support the mums and dads who make up 96 per cent of NSW’s 650,000 small business owners.

Ms Aitchison said the focus in the budget on previously announced changes to payroll tax thresholds showed the Government’s lack of understanding of the small business community. “While the Government has boasted that 2,000 small businesses will be taken out of the payroll tax system, there is nothing for the other 95 per cent of the state’s small businesses who have never paid payroll tax.”

Ms Aitchison made the comments in the wake of the NSW Treasurer’s 2019 Budget speech on Tuesday, which according to the NSW Business Chamber did “not include any significant tax savings or announcements for business.”

“In a time where the economic growth of our state has been downgraded, the NSW Treasurer has announced the axing of 2,500 public sector jobs and cuts to government procurement which makes a mockery of the Government’s commitment to prioritise small business in the procurement process,” said Ms Aitchison.

“Due to the multiplier effect, each average government job lost, will cost local communities up to half a million dollars in revenue*,” Ms Aitchison said. “This will have a terrible impact on small business mums and dads who rely on government jobs for increased economic opportunity, particularly in regional areas and in areas of high public sector employment.

Ms Aitchison was unimpressed by the announcement of the $6 million in advocacy for the Small Business Commissioner. “Funding for the Small Business Commissioner to provide more advocacy must be a joke,” she said:”Ask the traders on George Street Sydney and in Newcastle who lost their businesses during the government’s light rail projects how much the Commissioner helped them; or the Wave 5 Pacific Highway subcontractors who waited over 12 months to be paid for the work they did; or the commercial fishers who are going to the wall under the Government’s disastrous commercial fishing reforms.”

“The Small Business Commissioner is a toothless tiger, and the Government should reform the role to give it real power to advocate on behalf of small businesses. A few million dollars will not make the Commissioner’s advocacy stronger, or make the Government more prepared to listen!”

*Based on an average public sector wage of $67,000 at a multiplier rate of 7 times ($469,000 per job), at 2,500 jobs = $1,172,500,000.

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