Small business is the new political catch-cry but for too long governments have failed to understand what makes the small end of town tick, says NSW Small Business Minister John Barilaro.
Speaking at the National Small Business Summit in Sydney on Thursday, Barilaro said if more politicians were small business owners who had to mortgage their homes then governments would put in place long-term job creation policies more often.
“There is no point having a thriving small business community or small business sector or industry if we don’t actually have the employees to fuel those,” Barilaro said.
“The kids today, the kids that get those skills, aren’t just the tradespeople of tomorrow – they’re the entrepreneur. They are the future business leaders in our state.”
During his speech, Barilaro lashed out at onerous red tape, arguing the regulation surrounding the taxi industry is a prime example of government intervention gone wrong.
“It’s not Uber’s fault. The problem is that government has regulated the taxi industry to a point that it’s expensive, it’s inflexible, it’s not nimble and it’s not adaptable to change and demand of the consumer in the marketplace,” he said.
“We, as government, have been the problem, not the solution. So for us to change that, in real terms, I think we’ll have to compensate the taxi industry. We’re going to have to return money back to those taxi licence holders – because the reality is they’re small business owners and have mortgaged their homes to buy those licences.”
Barilaro also lashed out at payroll tax, labelling it the “most absurd tax of all time”.
“We’re punishing you from actually doing what we want you to do, that is, to invest in your business and create jobs,” he said.
But Barilaro admitted payroll tax is unlikely to be gone anytime soon.
“I’d love to say as of 2019-20 we’re going to get rid of payroll tax,” he said.
“But the reality is we’ve got to look at revenues just like any other business.”