Election 2022: Re-elected Liberal Party would create 400,000 small businesses, Morrison says, outpacing ABS figures

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: AAP/Lukas Coch.

A re-elected Coalition government would help create 400,000 new small businesses by 2027, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday, presenting a rosy assessment of new and existing policy positions.

In a joint statement, Morrison claimed his government would invest $17.9 million into the Business Energy Advice Program, creating another 15,000 advice sessions to help small businesses looking to lower their energy expenses.

Existing policy positions, including the instant asset write-off and the loss carry back scheme, have already helped drive $23 billion in business investment over the past year, the party said.

The government’s business tax cuts, apprentice wage subsidies, and newly-brokered trade deals will also assist the small business sector in the years ahead, the Prime Minister claimed.

“When we create small businesses, we create jobs,” Morrison said.

“We’ve seen more than 100,000 small and family businesses start up in the last 12 months alone and we know what is needed to help create even more,” said Stuart Robert, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business.

The Liberal Party’s pledge, released just weeks before the May 21 federal election, paint a far brighter picture than official business registration figures to date.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021, the net number of actively trading businesses, big and small, rose by an average of 66,100 a year.

If that trend kept up, Australia could expect to add roughly 330,500 businesses between 2021-2022 and 2026-2027, a significant shortfall from the Coalition’s optimistic small business projections.

The small business claim also runs parallel to Morrison’s election pledge to create 1.3 million jobs over the next five years — an echo of his January 2019 promise to create 1.25 million jobs over five years.

Despite extraordinary jobs growth after the worst of Australia’s pandemic lockdowns, that goal remains something of a longshot, with the Australian economy adding 513,000 jobs between May 2019 and April 2022.

More specific questions remain over the Coalition’s most recent pledge to create a tidal wave of small businesses, given the instant asset write-off will expire in 2023, and the fact loss carry backs apply to businesses with prior losses — that is, businesses which already exist.

Nevertheless, Morrison asserted his party has the wherewithal to get it done.

“We have the track record to set the conditions that help create businesses, and our ambitious pledge will see 400,000 more join our economy,” he said.

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