Australia’s new small business minister says his top priorities are ensuring the effects test becomes law and government gets “out of the way” of the nation’s entrepreneurs.
Michael McCormack told SmartCompany after being sworn in he is “very pleased” to be the first Nationals MP to hold the small business portfolio.
“I’m also really pleased for the Riverina, it gives us such an important voice not just in the ministry, but such an important portfolio which previously had city-based MPs in the role,” McCormack says.
“It’s a good fit for the National Party. Life in regional Australia is transforming.”
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Despite talking up his love for regional Australia, McCormack also points out small businesses in the cities and suburbs will also receive some “TLC”.
“Whilst I’m a regional Australian … and lived all my life in Wagga Wagga, I’m certainly not going to forget there are very vibrant chambers of commerce in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and elsewhere. Capital city businesses are going to get a lot of attention as well.”
Effects test high on McCormack’s list of priorities
After the Nationals pushed hard for competition law reform, part of McCormack’s job will be to ensure legislation to introduce the effects test sails through the 45th parliament.
The newly appointed small business minister is disappointed Labor does not support the introduction of an effects test, arguing Labor has “never seen a small business they’ve never wanted to put a picket outside of”.
However, McCormack is optimistic the Coalition will be able to work with Greens and crossbench senators to give small businesses and primary producers greater protections against big companies doing the wrong thing.
“We’ve got some good senators … who are very good negotiators and good at enunciating a position, whether it’s about small business or about the effects test,” he says.
“I think we’re going to see some really good things in this parliament.”
The Nationals MP will draw on his personal experience for his new role
As SmartCompany previously reported, McCormack owned and operated his own small business – a small publishing company he sold in 2010.
“The paperwork was always an issue, and finding the time to have a good work-life balance,” he says.
“Small business people do it tough. They need a government to, in some ways, get out of their way and let them get on with the job they do very, very well, which is creating innovation and creating jobs both directly and indirectly in their communities.
“I’m really glad I can draw on that experience, some of the highs and some of the pitfalls, in the next parliament.”