Hockey supports small biz, but vague on workplace reform


The Coalition has committed to reviewing competition policy to benefit small business

By Brad Gardner | May 20, 2010

The Coalition has committed to reviewing competition policy to benefit small business, but is still vague on its plans for the workplace.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says a Coalition government will review the Trade Practices Act.

He made the comment during his speech at the National Press Club yesterday, saying an "eminent Australian" independent of the public service will be tasked with the review.

"The outcomes we want will be focussed on giving small business a fair go," Hockey says.

But while claiming the Coalition will help older workers stay in the workforce and encourage younger people to take work where it is available, Hockey says the initiatives will not be announced until closer to the federal election.

Hockey was also vague on what industrial relations reforms the Coalition will introduce.

"[Coalition leader] Tony Abbott has indicated that our new policy will work within the existing Fair Work framework," he says.

During his budget reply last week, Abbott announced he would scrap unfair dismissal laws for small businesses and focus heavily on workplace agreements.

NO SMALL BUSINESS TAX BREAKS

Echoing comments made previously by Abbott, Hockey says the Coalition will not support the proposed tax on mining profits.

Revenue from the tax is designed to help small business by cutting the company tax rate from 30 to 28 percent, allowing immediate asset write-offs simpler depreciation allowances and a 3 percent rise in superannuation.

"We will not support the new tax on Australia’s resources sector and we will repeal the new tax should we form government after the election," Hockey says.

If elected, the Coalition will also scrap the national broadband network and trade training centres in schools to reduce the budget deficit.

Climate change initiatives such as funding for carbon capture and storage will be scrapped, alongside the Rudd Government’s program to put laptops in schools.

However, the Coalition has left open adopting more recommendations from the review into Australia’s taxation system.

"There are of course other tax initiatives in the Henry Review worthy of consideration," Hockey says, without explaining what measures the Coalition is interested in.

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