Tax Cuts for Small Businesses
Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (19:11): It is a big night in football tonight, as the member for Shortland spoke about earlier today in his 90-second statement. It was a very good 90-second statement, even though the wrong side won last time. It is a big night in football tonight. I will be hugely disappointed, if you do not know, Mr Deputy Speaker Hogan, that it is State of Origin.
Mr Conroy: Who’s he going for? He’s on the other side of the border.
Mr HOWARTH: He is going for Queensland, mate.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): Blues. I am the right side of the border, Member for Shortland.
Mr HOWARTH: Everyone knows we are great at footy, but did you know that it was a couple of Aussie blokes that codified a kicking-ball game? Way back in 1858, Aussie Rules football was born when Tom Will and Henry Harrison nutted out 10 rules which formed the basis of AFL, and predated those of other kicking-ball sports like gridiron and soccer. From the world’s first torpedo to the first electric drill to the electric pacemaker, the Hills hoist, the Victa mower and Mortein, these are all great Aussie inventions. We are definitely a talented lot here in Australia. But ideas are easy. Making them work, taking an idea and turning it into a viable business is something altogether different.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2017 Enterprise Incentives No. 1) Bill 2017 is yet another way the federal government is backing Australians. The Minister for Foreign Affairs said earlier this week that she found it confronting to read a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report that warned that Australia, currently ranked the 13th largest economy, would be lucky to remain in the top 30 countries by 2050—me too, this is definitely confronting. The opposition may be happy to remain entrenched in the past, but the federal government is committed to ensuring we move with the times. We know government does not create jobs; businesses do. That is why we will throw our weight behind them every day of the week. The treasury laws amendment bill has a couple of schedules. Schedule 1 increases access to losses. Schedule 2 is a self-assessment of the effective life of an intangible depreciable asset of acquired intellectual property. We all understand very well how depreciation works, especially with access for those businesses with up to $10 million in turnover with the instant asset tax write-off that they can all take advantage of before 30 June this year as well as next year. This bill also allows acquired intellectual property to be able to depreciate those costs as well. At the moment, depreciation is limited under the act to certain years. But the company has borne the cost of buying that intellectual property. They should be able to depreciate it more quickly or over a longer time, if required. Copyright software, for example, can be depreciated over 25 years, but that seems like quite a long time. If they need to depreciate that more quickly, they should be able to. In countries like the USA and the United Kingdom they are able to.
I think of local businesses that I have had a bit of experience with up in Brisbane—companies like Tanda. About five years ago, a group of young university students started the company, which is now turning over in excess of $2 million a year. This would enable them to make their business worthwhile, with some of the products that they sell and some of the intellectual property that they have. I mentioned before the report by PricewaterhouseCoopers: in a global economy, it is really important that Australia remains cutting-edge and a really attractive place to invest. That is very important, and we need to do everything that we can to enable companies to do that.
In a global environment, it is necessary to make these changes. Assets covered would include things like a standard patent; an innovation patent; a petty patent; a registered design copyright, except copyright in film; a licence, except one relating to a copyright in in-house software; all in-house software; a spectrum licence; a datacasting transmitter licence; or a telecommunication site access right. Those are some of the items that this will cover. What will it cost? The impact is not huge. It was announced in the 2015 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook that the measure was estimated to cost $80 million over the then forward estimates. But I say to those opposite: do not look upon every business as wanting to rip off the taxpayer, wanting to somehow move away from that. There are a lot of businesses that pay legitimate tax and that do the right thing, and we see that on a daily basis, which is really important. Considering that most people are employed in the private sector, it is very important.
The coalition government has a solid plan which will ease the pressure on Australian families and will protect businesses and those that they employ. Our plan will ensure we do not lumber our children with the burden of the opposition’s fiscal ineptitude. Our plan is built on careful and considered analysis of our position and on sound, strategic planning that will shore up the future of this great nation, Australia. It supports and advances some of our best and our brightest.