Politics

What the NSW election will mean for your SME

Kirsten Robb /

As New South Wales voters head to the polls tomorrow, Premier Mike Baird and the Coalition appear set to maintain control of government in the state.

Unlike the recent Victorian and Queensland elections, a swing away from the incumbent conservative government does not look likely.

The latest Galaxy Poll places the Coalition ahead of Labor on a two-party preferred basis, by 55% to 45%.

The NSW Business Chamber of Commerce has also put its vote of confidence in the Coalition’s policy platform, releasing its Unfinished Business Scorecard that shows small business will be better off under the incumbent Baird government, rather than the Labor Party, led by Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

“What business really wants is confidence and a solid direction,” Kate Carnell, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, told SmartCompany.

“It wants a government that has a solid small business policy and can set a steady course,” says Carnell.

Carnell says the Baird government has several policies ACCI believes are important for small business.

“As much as we try not to pick who will win, I have to say in terms of the infrastructure policies of the government and the leasing of poles and wires, we are very supportive of those policies,” Carnell says.

SmartCompany takes a look at what’s on the table for NSW small businesses.

Infrastructure

If re-elected, the Coalition plans to lease 49% of the New South Wales’ electricity assets to provide a $20 billion boost to infrastructure investment.

Labor opposes privatisation of the state’s electricity assets and instead proposes a $10 billion infrastructure investment plan over 10 years, which would be funded by existing Restart NSW funds and the deferral of scheduled cuts to business taxes.

Payroll tax

The Coalition has flagged a reduction in payroll tax as a priority and has offered small businesses that employ extra staff a $2000 tax rebate. The existing $5000 payroll rebate will be extended for another four years.

Skills

The Coalition has put a Reskilling NSW package on the table that includes $27 million allocated to 40,000 government school students to help them undertake structured workplace learning as part of the HSC.

Labor has committed to undertaking a wide-ranging review of post-Year 10 education and pledged funding to TAFE by capping the amount of public funds that can be contestable by private operators at 30%.

Workplace laws

SMEs potentially face stronger regulation in the workplace if Labor is elected, with the party saying it will make workplace bullying a priority and enact laws to help protect workers.

The party has also proposed to review the Workers Compensation scheme and legislate new requirement for businesses to accommodate requests for flexible working hours from workers who are pregnant or on parental leave.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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