2022 Federal Election – who is supporting small business?

A few weeks ago we sent out 3 questions to every candidate we could for every election representing the Greater Hobart area – here are the results: Note sadly many political candidates did not consider our questions worthy of an answer.

These are our questions:

  1. What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?
  2. What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?
  3. What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

Senate Candidates

United Australia Party – Alan Hennessy

Thank you for your email and the chance to respond to your Small Business Survey.

Small businesses in Tasmania, and indeed throughout Australia, operate in a cut-throat environment that is exacerbated by adverse fiscal policies of the current Federal Government. Some of the most damaging are their taxation policies towards small—and large—businesses. As you would be aware, many business bankruptcies are triggered by the enormous burdens of Provisional Tax, Company Tax and other taxes.  

At an address to the National Press Club of Australia (NPCA) on Thursday 7 April, UAP Chairman Clive Palmer announced that the United Australia Party would provide an annual 20% income tax and company tax concession to those residents or businesses located more than 200km from a capital city.

A few days ago during a Zoom call with all candidates, Clive Palmer further announced that—due to its size being a special case—ALL Tasmanian residents and businesses would be given an annual 20% income/company tax concession !

I can now confirm with you the following UAP policies, in addition to the annual 20% income/company tax concession for all of Tasmania, that will directly and indirectly support all businesses:

* the cap of a maximum home mortgage rate at 3% for 5 years (many business owners mortgage their homes in order to finance their business)

* Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) will be abolished

* Provisional Tax will be abolished 

Liberal Party – Eric Abetz

The last two years have been tough for our country.

Despite the setbacks, Australia’s economic recovery is leading the world.

Unemployment is at 4%, the equal lowest in 48 years. And the recent Budget included the biggest turnaround in our finances in over 7O years.

There’s much more to be d one. To build a stronger future, our plan will:

  1. Deliver more jabs and working towards unemployment below 4%.
  2. Deliver tax relief for workers and small businesses.
  3. Invest in roads, rail, water infrastructure and renewable energy technology.
  4. Make record investments in health and other essential services.
  5. Invest in stronger defense, security and borders.

This election provides a clear choice, with real consequences for Australia.

The alternative at this election is Anthony Albanese and Labor. would weaken our economy and put Australia’s recovery at risk. Now is not the time to change course.

United Palmer Party – Diana Adams

  1. What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?

I feel that the most important issue confronting small businesses is uncertainty. We saw the devastating effects that the lockdowns had on businesses (especially in other states). Also there were limits to capacity imposed on businesses that further added to the stress and severely limited the earnings of the business. I feel that businesses need certainly that they will be able to operate, and operate to full capacity without the threat of a sudden or extended lockdown. I would ensure that lockdowns or capacity limits are never again imposed on businesses.

The United Australia Party is also committed to removing mandates (both vaccine mandates and mask mandates) ensuring that everyone (including employees of businesses and business owners) has the right to decide whether or not they wish to be vaccinated or wear a mask without this been forced upon them or the threat of losing their job should they not comply to a mandate. The removal of mandates will ensure that staff do not feel coerced and that businesses do not lose staff as a result.

  • What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?

The policies that I have in mind that would provide support for small businesses is a 20% tax concession for ALL Tasmanian businesses (under the UAP’s zonal taxation policy). Also our policy of abolishing Provisional Tax will relieve the burden and expense of having to pay tax upfront before any profits are made. Instead tax would be paid at the end of the financial year as with how individuals pay tax. So tax will then be paid after profits have been made. I would also abolish Fringe Benefits Tax which would further give relief to businesses.

Furthermore, removing vaccine and mask mandates would alleviate staff from feeling coerced and retain staff that would otherwise have lost their jobs due to mandates. This then gives people back their freedom of choice to decide what happens with their own bodies as opposed to being dictated to by the government.

The UAP also aim to freeze the fuel excise which will keep fuel costs lower and will assist many businesses that rely on transport.

  • What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

As covered above, I feel the main threats are uncertainty which will be alleviated by the UAP’s policy ending all lockdowns and ensuring they don’t happen again. This way businesses can run in confidence knowing that they will be able to operate without being dictated to by the government. Also not restricting the running capacity of businesses and removing mask and vaccine mandates, returning freedom of choice back to the people so staff do not feel coerced and businesses can retain staff who would have otherwise lost their jobs due to the mandates.

I also feel that businesses (especially small businesses) have suffered tremendously through the pandemic, a 20% tax concession going forward will certainly also aid in increasing the revenue for businesses.

Labor Party – Daniel Hulme


The COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to serious natural disasters across large parts of Australia, have had a significant impact on small businesses across the country.
A lack of federal leadership has compounded the anxiety felt by small business owners, eroding confidence and certainty about the future.
Challenges facing Tasmanian small businesses
As we emerge from the pandemic, there are signs that the Tasmanian economy is growing but we also know some industries are doing better than others and significant challenges lie ahead for small businesses in the recovery.
The Morrison Government has taken small business for granted for too long. After a decade of Liberal Government, too many small businesses are waiting over a month to get paid, eight out of 10 find regulation unnecessarily complex, one in four cannot find skilled staff and too many fees are being unnecessarily pinched at the counter.
Labor’s Better Deal for Small Business at the 2022 Election
Labor will deliver a targeted plan to give small business the confidence they need coming out of the pandemic and recovering from bushfires and floods. It will also provide support for small business so they are no longer left in the lurch during in times of crisis.
Labor’s Better Deal for Small Business will:
• Guarantee that an Albanese Labor Government will consider the specific needs of small businesses in times of crisis, giving the confidence and certainty to grow and plan for the future.
• Ensure small businesses are paid on time to sustain growth across the economy with a mechanism to ensure payment within 30 days.
• Make unfair contract terms illegal so small businesses can negotiate fairer agreements with large partners.
• Drive a genuine collaboration with small businesses and government to reduce the time small businesses spend doing taxes, cut paperwork and target support.
• Draw on Labor’s history of working with unions, workers and industry to deliver better outcomes with settings that are simpler, more accessible, and fair.
• Reduce small business transaction costs at the point of payment with a clear timeline for implementing least cost routing or similar.
Labor’s Better Deal for Small Business builds on our comprehensive plan to create jobs, boost vital skills by investing in education and training, bring industry expertise back onshore and supercharge national productivity.
Labor will maximise small business participation in Commonwealth procurement, providing greater opportunities for business and Australian jobs. The Commonwealth can use its $70 billion annual purchasing power to support small businesses, delivering better value for money and growing the local economy, to build a Future Made in Australia.
Labor will also provide the environment for businesses to thrive through Labor’s Start-up Year initiative, Fee-Free TAFE to address skills shortages, and Cheaper Child Care to remove barriers to returning to work.
These measures are targeted at making it easier for small business to bounce back from the ongoing pandemic and recovering from the bushfires and floods which have ravaged parts of Australia and build on the temporary deduction arrangements in the 2022-23 Budget for skills and training and digital technology.

Liberal Party – Wendy Askew

What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?

  *   The Morrison Government is focused on enabling small businesses in Tasmania to keep more of what they earn so they can grow their business and employ more Australians.

  *   The Morrison Government is achieving this by delivering tax relief to support investment and create jobs. The Government has reduced the company tax rate for small businesses from 30 per cent to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021 and introduced the unincorporated small business tax discount. Combined, these changes will deliver more than $21 billion in tax cuts to small businesses from 2015-16 to 2024-25, with around $2.6 billion flowing in 2022-23.

  *   The Morrison Government is also encouraging business investment and supporting cash flow by allowing small and medium businesses to instantly write-off assets purchased up to the 30 June 2023.  This is supporting 99 per cent of businesses employing 11 million Australians.

What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?

  *   The Morrison Government has announced new initiatives to support small businesses to upskill employees and embrace the digital revolution. Small and medium companies will be able to access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction on the costs of external training for employees, while small and medium businesses investing in new technology (up to $100,000) can access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction.

  *   The Government continues to cut red tape by progressing our deregulation reforms which are expected to generate benefits exceeding $21 billion over 10 years. Business Activity Statements have been simplified, Single Touch Payroll implemented and ATO reporting requirements will be automated – reducing compliance costs, improving processing times and supporting cash flow.

  *   The Government is focused on making it easier for small businesses to hire their first worker with new checklists and tools that guide employers to generate an employment contact in five minutes. Employers will also be supported by a dedicated small business unit in the Fair Work Commission to help navigate workplace obligations.

  *   The Government is also helping small businesses engage with larger businesses with the Payment Times Reporting Register and Franchising Disclosure Register removing information imbalances to ensure small business get paid on time and have all the information they need when entering into franchising arrangements.

What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

*         Labor is a risk to Australian small businesses. Over the last 30 years, Labor has delivered higher unemployment, higher interest rates and higher electricity prices.

*         In Opposition, Labor voted against tax relief for small and medium businesses 15 times and went on to promise $387 billion of extra taxes at the 2019 election. Labor’s instinct is always to oppose lower taxes, including on small and medium businesses.

*         Labor criticised the Jobkeeper scheme which supported over 1 million Australian businesses employing around 4 million Australians at the time they needed it most at the height of the COVID pandemic.

*         Labor criticised the highly successful SME Loan Recovery Scheme Program where around 90,000 loans worth over $10 billion have been issued since the scheme commenced.

*         The Coalition commits to imposing no new taxes on small business and to continue to pursue opportunities to make it easier to do business, consistent with our Deregulation Agenda (Progressing Australia’s Deregulation Agenda | Deregulation (pmc.gov.au)

Federal Election – Clark

Independent – Andrew Wilkie

Answer to Question 1:

Tasmanian small businesses are the backbone of the economy and should be given every support. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to adapt to public health restrictions, incur disruption to supply chains and changes to people’s spending habits. Tourism, hospitality, and the arts have been hit particularly hard, but all small businesses have had to confront additional costs, revenue disruptions and staffing difficulties.

Answer to Question 2:

I will continue to lobby for measures that lower business costs, like bolstering the Freight Equalisation Scheme and Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme, and for investment in local infrastructure that supports business, for example a better transport system. I will also continue to be a strong advocate for small business in Canberra by making sure they can access their share of federal support. I will keep lobbying for reforms that benefit local industries, for example in the last Parliament I secured tax reform for distillers and craft brewers. Moreover the Federal Government needs to lead by example by prioritising small business in their contracts and purchases. More broadly, vocational training needs to be expanded so that Tasmanians are equipped with the right skills and graduates encouraged to stay in Tasmania. The mental health and wellbeing of people working in small business must also be supported through a Small Business Assistance Program provider. At the local level, small businesses need to be supported by planning decisions that support city amenity and access.  

Answer to Question 3:

The last two years has obviously created significant upheaval for small businesses as they adapted to the pandemic, costs rose and many customers had less disposable income as they struggle to meet the increased cost of living. Some Small businesses need ongoing and well-targeted government support to continue to deal with this, while all small businesses will benefit from measures like assistance accessing diverse markets and attracting suitably qualified staff.

Liberal Party – Will Coats

What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?

The Morrison Government is focused on enabling small businesses in Tasmania to keep more of what they earn so they can grow their business and employ more Australians.

The Morrison Government is achieving this by delivering tax relief to support investment and create jobs. The Government has reduced the company tax rate for small businesses from 30 per cent to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021 and introduced the unincorporated small business tax discount. Combined, these changes will deliver more than $21 billion in tax cuts to small businesses from 2015-16 to 2024-25, with around $2.6 billion flowing in 2022-23.

The Morrison Government is also encouraging business investment and supporting cash flow by allowing small and medium businesses to instantly write-off assets purchased up to the 30 June 2023. This is supporting 99 per cent of businesses employing 11 million Australians.

What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?

The Morrison Government has announced new initiatives to support small businesses to upskill employees and embrace the digital revolution. Small and medium companies will be able to access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction on the costs of external training for employees, while small and medium businesses investing in new technology (up to $100,000) can access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction.

The Government continues to cut red tape by progressing our deregulation reforms which are expected to generate benefits exceeding $21 billion over 10 years. Business Activity Statements have been simplified, Single Touch Payroll implemented and ATO reporting requirements will be automated — reducing compliance costs, improving processing times and supporting cash flow.

The Government is focused on making it easier for small businesses to hire their first worker with new checklists and tools that guide employers to generate an employment contact in five minutes. Employers will also be supported by a dedicated small business unit in the Fair Work Commission to help navigate workplace obligations.

The Government is also helping small businesses engage with larger businesses with the Payment Times Reporting Register and Franchising Disclosure Register removing information imbalances to ensure small business get paid on time and have all the information they need when entering into franchising arrangements.

What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

Labor is a risk to Australian small businesses. Over the last 30 years, Labor has delivered higher unemployment, higher interest rates and higher electricity prices.

In Opposition Labor voted against tax relief for small and medium businesses 15 times and went on to promise $387 billion of extra taxes at the 2019 election. Labor’s instinct is always to oppose lower taxes, including on small and medium businesses.

Labor criticised the Jobkeeper scheme which supported over 1 million Australian businesses employing around 4 million Australians at the time they needed it most at the height of the COVID pandemic.

Labor criticised the highly successful SME Loan Recovery Scheme Program where around 90,000 loans worth over $10 billion have been issued since the scheme commenced.

The Coalition commits to imposing no new taxes on small business and to continue to pursue opportunities to make it easier to do business, consistent with our Deregulation Agenda (Proeressine Australia’s Deregulation Agenda Deregulation (pmc.gov.au))

Federal Election – Franklin

Liberal Party – Kristy Johnson

What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?

The Morrison Government is focused on enabling small businesses in Tasmania to keep more of what they earn so they can grow their business and employ more Australians.  

The Morrison Government is achieving this by delivering tax relief to support investment and create jobs. The Government has reduced the company tax rate for small businesses from 30 per cent to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021 and introduced the unincorporated small business tax discount. Combined, these changes will deliver more than $21 billion in tax cuts to small businesses from 2015-16 to 2024-25, with around $2.6 billion flowing in 2022-23.

The Morrison Government is also encouraging business investment and supporting cash flow by allowing small and medium businesses to instantly write-off assets purchased up to the 30 June 2023.  This is supporting 99 per cent of businesses employing 11 million Australians.

What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?

The Morrison Government has announced new initiatives to support small businesses to upskill employees and embrace the digital revolution. Small and medium companies will be able to access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction on the costs of external training for employees, while small and medium businesses investing in new technology (up to $100,000) can access a 20 per cent bonus tax deduction.

The Government continues to cut red tape by progressing our deregulation reforms which are expected to generate benefits exceeding $21 billion over 10 years. Business Activity Statements have been simplified, Single Touch Payroll implemented and ATO reporting requirements will be automated – reducing compliance costs, improving processing times and supporting cash flow.

The Government is focused on making it easier for small businesses to hire their first worker with new checklists and tools that guide employers to generate an employment contact in five minutes. Employers will also be supported by a dedicated small business unit in the Fair Work Commission to help navigate workplace obligations.

The Government is also helping small businesses engage with larger businesses with the Payment Times Reporting Register and Franchising Disclosure Register removing information imbalances to ensure small business get paid on time and have all the information they need when entering into franchising arrangements.

What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

Labor is a risk to Australian small businesses. Over the last 30 years, Labor has delivered higher unemployment, higher interest rates and higher electricity prices.

In Opposition, Labor voted against tax relief for small and medium businesses 15 times and went on to promise $387 billion of extra taxes at the 2019 election. Labor’s instinct is always to oppose lower taxes, including on small and medium businesses.

Labor criticised the Jobkeeper scheme which supported over 1 million Australian businesses employing around 4 million Australians at the time they needed it most at the height of the COVID pandemic.

Labor criticised the highly successful SME Loan Recovery Scheme Program where around 90,000 loans worth over $10 billion have been issued since the scheme commenced. The Coalition commits to imposing no new taxes on small business and to continue to pursue opportunities to make it easier to do business, consistent with our Deregulation Agenda (Progressing Australia’s Deregulation Agenda | Deregulation (pmc.gov.au)

Huon Legislative Council

The Local Party – Pat Caplice

I’ve owned and operated a number of small businesses. I’ve owned and operated a takeaway shop in Derwent Park. I was a partner in Production Management Tasmania, doing events management, from ’88 to ’98 and was owner operator of Mouse on Mars, a tourism based statewide internet access service from 2000 to 2011. Unnecessary red tape has been an inhibiting element many times. 

Production Management Tasmania ran the docks on behalf of the RYCT each year at the end of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, including the 50th anniversary race when 440 yachts arrived into Hobart. PMT also set up and ran the shore base for the US Navy when their aircraft carriers were in Hobart. 

Part of setting up large scale events involves pandering to bureaucrats who have little experience of the real world. Quite a lot of time and a dollar expensive activity that serves no actual purpose.

Mouse on Mars began as a single venue internet cafe in Salamanca Place and within a year expanded statewide. We networked 80 computer terminals in 50 locations around the state. In hotels, backpackers, cafes and caravan parks. As the early 2000’s technology developed each location had a wifi hotspot added. (it amused me when David Bartlett, as premier, tossed $400k to a business to wifi Hobart’s waterfront. Mouse on Mars sent its wifi signal from its Salamanca cafe, from its networked locations at Retro, the Arts Centre, the then ferry terminal, Elizabeth Street Pier and the Art Hotel, covering the whole area.. I suggested he walk outside his ivory tower with laptop in hand to check if a private business was already doing before giving away nearly half a million of taxpayer money away.) 

So that’s a bit of background.

1) Decisions taken by the government can often affect small businesses, often negatively. It’s important to understand why those decisions are made and that requires transparency. Transparency requires complete openness on who is financing the decision makers. Real time disclosure of political donations will have a positive effect on small businesses.

Many large businesses received a recent bonus from the Liberal government. The 7 businesses who operate 70 of Tasmania’s Pokies pubs received $100s of millions in free Pokies licences. Not only is it poor governance to give valuable licences away for free but it also impacts small business, those who operate without such government subsidy. That’s any restaurant or pub that hasn’t been subject to such largess. 

2) The Confederation of Greater Hobart Business needs to consider the role the Legislative Council plays in Tasmania’s governance. It rarely puts forward legislation. Mike Gaffney’s Dying with Dignity legislation is the exception rather than the rule. The Lower House, with its conflicted parties, put forward policy and legislation. It then goes to the LegCo for a review of its fairness, to clear unintended consequences, and to see that it benefits the community rather than vested interests. 

That’s how I would approach serving in the Legislative Council. The perspective of small business I would of course include in each aspect of that review function.

3) There are so many threats to and risks in operating a small business it’s hard to know where to start so I’ll just go with one. Poor governance. This leads to an uneven playing field for entrepreneurs and to unnecessary red tape. Fairness across the board is what I would be seeking in my role as a Legislative Councillor, should the electorate choose me.

Legislative Council – Elwick

Labor Party – Josh Willie

What do you think is the most important issue confronting small businesses in Tasmania?

Inflation is higher than it has been for decades. This means higher costs for businesses, which either have to be absorbed through reduced profit margins or passed on to customers. Rising costs for essentials like food, rent and fuel also mean people (potential customers) have less money to spend in local businesses.

The Tasmanian Government can’t control things like the global oil price but it is clearly making a difficult situation worse. Despite promising no new taxes at the last election, it has just passed a new bin tax which will increase the cost of rubbish collection and council rates. It wants to increase water and sewerage charges by a total of $400 over the next four years, and it’s introducing new energy charges.

Small business needs a Government focused on getting the basics of economic management right and that starts with keeping a lid on price rises at this challenging time.

What policies and projects do you have in mind that would provide support for small business if you were elected?

The role of the Legislative Council is to scrutinize Government legislation. If I’m re-elected, I’ll continue to hold the government accountable for decisions it makes that increase costs for small businesses, and opposing them where they’re unfair.

This means continuing to fight against the Government‘s broken promise on waste and rubbish collection taxes, increased water and sewerage costs and the Government’s proposed new energy charges.

Small business needs a government focused on getting the basics of economic management right and that starts with keeping a lid on taxes and unfair price rises.

What do you see as threats to small businesses being able to function and what do you propose to do to protect them from these threats?

Costs are rising across the board at a rate not seen for decades. This means higher costs for businesses, which either have to be absorbed through reduced profit margins or passed on to customers. Rising costs for essentials like food, rent and fuel also mean people (potential customers) have less money to spend in local businesses.

If I’m re-elected, I’ll continue to hold the Government accountable for decisions it makes I.hat increase costs for small businesses, and opposing them where they’re unfair.

This means continuing to fight against the Government’s broken promise on waste and rubbish collection taxes, increased water and sewerage costs and the Government‘s proposed new energy charges.

Small business needs a Government focused on getting the basics of economic management right and that starts with keeping a lid on taxes and unfair price rises.

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