Labor notes the appointment of Craig Laundy MP as Minister for Small and Family Business, Workplace and Deregulation as part of Turnbull’s divisive reshuffle.
Mr Laundy certainly has his work cut out for him with the myriad of issues negatively impacting Australian small business under the Turnbull Government – a lack of investment in skills and TAFE, the failing NBN, payment times and soaring energy prices.
Regrettably, the Turnbull Government has not taken the opportunity to elevate the portfolio that represents Australia’s 2.1 million small businesses and the nearly 5 million Australians they employ to the Cabinet.
Labor cares about Australian small businesses, and believes they deserve better if they are to compete, thrive and employ in the modern economy. That’s why if elected, Labor will restore small business to the Cabinet level to ensure this vitally important sector is represented at the highest level of decision making in the Commonwealth.
The absence of an advocate for small business portfolio at the conservatives’ Cabinet table has been telling for Australian small businesses. It has been exemplified by the four years of chaos and division on energy policy that has seen Australia’s wholesale power prices double. As a result, Australian small businesses are paying amongst the highest electricity prices in the world – hampering their potential to grow.
The Turnbull Government has also woefully mismanaged the most critical infrastructure project of the 21st century for Australia’s small businesses – the National Broadband Network. Despite promising universal access to minimum speeds of 25 megabits per second by 2016, the Turnbull Government’s technologically inferior “NBN” will not reach many small businesses until 2019 or later, and will then deliver speeds that are well behind key trading partners and competitors such as Korea, Japan and New Zealand.
Without an advocate for the sector in Cabinet, the Turnbull Government has failed to deliver on the most pressing issues facing small business owners across the country.