6PR MONEY NEWS
THURSDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER 2023
SUBJECTS: Tax concessions for small businesses, extending DGR status for charities, passing of the Housing Australia Future Fund, Competition Review Taskforce, Royal Australian Mint’s Big Things series,
KARALEE KATSAMBANIS (HOST): Dr Leigh, thank you for joining me from Canberra. Good evening.
ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CHARITIES, COMPETITION, TREASURY AND EMPLOYMENT ANDREW LEIGH: Good evening, Karalee. Great to be with you and the 6PR listeners.
KATSAMBANIS: It is indeed, well, a big day today in the Federal Parliament.
LEIGH: We just passed the Housing Australia Future Fund through the Parliament today, Karalee, which means 30,000 social and affordable homes, 4000 of which will be available for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence. We know the issue of housing affordability comes down to supply and by putting more supply out there, we're going to offer a better deal to renters and those who are trying to break in and afford a home -
KATSAMBANIS: We've just got to fix it up in Western Australia. We spoke about this last week, I should say we spoke about it this week. Look, it's a great initiative, of course, but we've got our own problems here in Western Australia with supply. People are currently waiting for three years to build a house, but hopefully, now that the deal has been brokered, as you say, the intentions of the policy can come to fruition. One thing I want to get onto with you tonight is also today the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill, and it's going to offer support for small business and charities. Explain to our listeners what's in it for them.
LEIGH: Yeah, the Treasury Laws Amendment Bill will provide better deductions for small businesses that are looking to make an investment, particularly to make an investment in the area of cyber security, which I know is a big concern for many small businesses. There's also benefits there for a range of community foundations, including the Fremantle Foundation and the Albany Community Foundation, which do great work in their local communities, but previously haven't had tax deductible gift recipient status. So, by extending that status, we'll allow them to expand the work that they do in their local communities.
KATSAMBANIS: And I guess by doing this, it's showing that the charity sector, up until this point, as you said, community charity trust, community charity corporations, they didn't really neatly fit into any of those existing deductible gift recipient categories. But this is going to make it slightly easier.
LEIGH: Yeah, that's right. So, Australian community foundations have up until now, been left out. You can think of community foundations as locals getting together to solve local problems. They're a group of givers operating in regions which are under pressure and need assistance. And so these community foundations will now be able to receive tax deductible donations which will allow them to do a power of good in their local communities alongside the many other charities that are out there operating right now. Now, the former government waged a bit of a war on charities. We're very much on the side of the charity sector, wanting to work with them in order to build a more connected community.
KATSAMBANIS: And look, we know here in Western Australia, us sandgropers, we are very philanthropic. We always give to our local communities as well, so that's good news. I also wanted to because, of course, as I said, you're Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, as well as for Employment, but the Government's undertaking a review of competition policy settings in order to try and help build a more dynamic and productive economy. So, what's happening in that space?
LEIGH: We've seen currently, as you well know, a rise in market concentration, an increase in markups and a decline in the share of new businesses being started up that employ people. All of that suggests the economy has become a bit less dynamic over recent decades. And so we've asked the Treasury to set up a rapid response competition task force. This won't be a group of people sort of going away for years to produce a report, but a practical, evidence-based taskforce which will bring forward reform ideas in order to boost competition. We don't want Australia to turn into the land of the duopoly, where in any industry you've only got a couple of choices, we want consumers to have more choices, businesses to be more dynamic and workers to have more options as to where they work.
KATSAMBANIS: Dr Leigh, what I was going to say was we hear a lot from small and medium business on this show. We get a lot of correspondence through. It's always that relentless argument about red tape and that business often sees a quicker way. They're wanting to be able to cut through it. That's something that you're looking at as well, isn't it?
LEIGH: Absolutely. We need to make sure that regulation is fit for purpose and that we're not imposing regulation on small business that is designed for larger firms. The risk if you do that is you're effectively locking in the big behemoth incumbents and not allowing new startups to take them on. So, the competition taskforce will be looking in conjunction with states and territories about how we can reform our competition laws to address challenges raised by new technologies, the net zero transformation and growth in the care economy.
KATSAMBANIS: Well, listeners, as I said, we are speaking to the Honourable Dr Andrew Leigh, who is Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury, as well as Employment. I'm interested. Please give me a ring. 133 882 or send me a text 0487 999 882. If you're a business owner, do you actually actively get involved in this process? Do you actually write to the Minister? Do you actually send correspondence through with ideas? I'm always interested to know what our local business owners are doing here in Western Australia. Now, Minister, before I let you go tonight, because, as I said, it has been a very, very busy sitting week for you in Canberra. A slightly lighter story tonight because, of course, we are the Money News show. But Australia Post, they are doing some interesting things when it comes to coins.
LEIGH: Absolutely. Australia Post are putting out their Big Things series. They include big things such as the Big Merino and the Big Banana and that'll feature some of those great Aussie icons that can be seen all around Australia.
KATSAMBANIS: Well, we covered, I got to say, the biggest one. We've got to go local with our sandgropers, the Giant Ram from Wagin. That is on a $1 coin.
LEIGH: Absolutely. And so there's big coins which are reflecting the entire nation, and part of that is acknowledging that right across the country, we love our big things. So, WA has got the Giant Ram, South Australia's got the Big Lobster, NT's got the Big Jumping Crocodile, Tassie's got the Big Tassie Devil, and Canberra has got the Big Swoop. I could go on, but you get the picture.
KATSAMBANIS: I sure do get the picture. Listen, we'll let you go tonight. Thank you very much indeed for joining us here on the Money news programme on Radio 6PR, part of the Nine Radio Network.
LEIGH: Big pleasure to chat.