I know that for those of you reading My Business, my colleagues, the hardworking men and women of small business and myself, we spend almost every waking moment thinking about how to do better, how to grow and innovate.
For us, small business isn’t a new thing, nor is it a passing fancy. Small business has been and continues to be an enduring focus and priority for the government in our policy work. We do believe that small business is everyone’s business.
In today’s column, I want to take the time to expand on this. No one can be in doubt that small business was at the heart of our federal budget. Our budget is a strong statement about how central we see small business’ success to our nation’s future economic success.
I believe the hardworking men and women of small businesses really represent the ideals that we see as quintessentially Australian. They are truly out there having a go. They display extraordinary work ethic and a deep commitment – mortgaging their house, doing without and applying all they’ve got to finance, support and drive their venture. They aim to create opportunities for themselves, those that they employ, the ones they serve, whom they feed, and those they clothe.
Our budget marks the start of a great era, when enterprising men and women know they are valued and are really respected in our national parliament. They know our nation supports their entrepreneurship and their tireless work.
What distinguishes our $5.5 billion jobs and small business package from other measures that may seek similar outcomes, is we are not telling people ‘government knows best’. We are not saying to people ‘government knows what to do with your money, and we know how to spend it better than you’. That is not our approach.
We are not about splashing cash handouts and hoping for the best. We are simply making sure small business people are supported to get the best out of their money and get more of it returned sooner. We have said to small business, ‘You know best how to grow your business’.
I urge each of you to visit www.budget.gov.au and see for yourself how the budget helps your business – from instant asset write off, to tax concession for start-ups. I hope this package is catalytic for you to turn ambition into economic action.
My other firm belief to invigorate economic action is that there is no substitute for customers. All of us have a role to play in supporting small businesses across our country by being thoughtful customers.
If you love being able to stroll down a shopping strip in your local neighbourhood, support those businesses who create that precinct and create the ambience. If you love having a local shopkeeper who knows your name, support that enterprise. If you appreciate Australian-made innovation, buy the locally developed product or service.
Demonstrate your support by shopping small and shopping local because energising enterprise is everybody’s business.
Bruce Billson is the federal minister for small business and the federal member for Dunkley.