Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s consultative approach is winning over the small business community, despite the Government delaying its decision on whether or not to introduce an effects test until at least next year.
Speaking at the annual Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner last night, Turnbull praised the business community for representing the “very best of the Australian spirit”.
“You are the key to driving the innovative enterprises that will deliver growth and jobs into the future,” Turnbull said, according to the ABC.
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“You embody the very best of the Australian spirit. That entrepreneurial ethos, that business ethos which has been responsible for so much of our economic prosperity and which will drive so much of it into the future.
“To secure that future, we need to work together.”
The Prime Minister’s comments stood in stark contrast to those made by former PM Tony Abbott at last year’s address.
Last November, Abbott urged the business community to do more to sell the budget on the government’s behalf.
“My hope is that you won’t just be interested but you’ll be engaged,” Abbott said at the time.
“Reform or stagnation. Budget repair or endless deficits. More tax or less. A government that’s open to businesses or one that’s not… Our country needs a strong business voice as much as it needs good government.”
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Kate Carnell told SmartCompany business leaders were treated to a “rousing address” by Turnbull last night.
“In his speech, the Prime Minister showed his natural enthusiasm and optimism for business, particularly small and medium enterprise, as the natural growth engine of the economy,” Carnell says.
“It was heartening to hear Mr Turnbull being fair dinkum about the need for smarter and more innovative approaches to taxation and government regulation to make Australia a dynamic 21st century economy, where entrepreneurs can grow, invest and employ.”
Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany he and others appreciate how Turnbull is treating the business community.
Strong met with Turnbull this morning to discuss small business issues and says the meeting went very well.
“We brought up the issue with him that we see too much domination on policy by too few big businesses,” Strong says.
“He responded by saying he understood they have very different needs to small businesses. “We talked about training and he understood it’s vitally important [for the small business sector]. And we talked about local economic development. He seemed very interested in that.”
Strong says it is good to see Turnbull engaging with the small business community.
“He gets the complexity, and the fact he met with us shows he gets small business is different from big,” Strong says.