Small Business Support Fund – M5 East Toll Amendment

17 September 2020


That the motion be amended by omitting all words after "(2)" and inserting instead:

"(2) Notes that the Government has introduced new, unfair and expensive tolls on the M5 and NorthConnex, which creates a massive annual cost for small business, tradespeople and families.

(3) Calls on the Government to scrap the new M5 toll and to introduce a toll-free period for NorthConnex because tolls are nothing more than new taxes on small businesses and families."

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields) (12:48:47) — Firstly, I commend my friend and colleague the Member for Wollongong for his amendment to the motion, which is about supporting small businesses.

If we are going to talk about small business we must also talk about the facts. As someone from a family of small business owners I know the tough times, the hard work and the effort that go into running a small business.

One of the great tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the pressure on and the subsequent collapse of so many small businesses.

It has been well documented for years that small businesses have been struggling under the burden of red tape and taxation.

As I go around my electorate and speak to many small business owners I am constantly reminded that things have never been tighter or more tough. The many empty shops I see on the main street reinforces this economic pain.

One would think that at a time of unprecedented pressure and financial strain on small business that this Government would do all it could to support those who are struggling.

Instead, this Liberal Government is showing its true colours.

It chooses to do backroom, corporate deals at the expense of hardworking small businesses.

The Liberals have sat back and done nothing as the new, unfair M5 East toll and NorthConnex toll takes thousands of dollars from small businesses.

It was this Liberal Government that gave the rights to a new toll on an old road that was free under Labor.

We say the Liberals’ message is that they support small businesses by taxing them more and taking more of their earnings. This Liberal Government is not the party of small business; it is the party of high taxes and inflicting more costs on small business owners.

Every day thousands of vehicles, tradespeople and small business representatives use the M5 East to go about their business.

I note the Member for East Hills is in the Chamber. When the public interest debate on the M5 East was being debated she was silent and she voted against her community's interests to go about their business.

They will be inflicted with more taxes, thereby suffering more economic pain, because they now have to pay for a road that has been free for almost 20 years.

These small businesses should not have to pay a cent to use the M5 East; under the Liberals they do.

This is the party that purports to be the voice and champions of small business but its actions prove otherwise. It has consistently rejected calls to scrap the unfair toll on the M5 East. When it comes to taxes, tolls and support for small business never listen to what the Liberals say, look at what they do.

My friend and colleague, the Member for Wollongong, rightly exposes the hypocrisy of the Liberal Government in supporting small business.

He, like all members on this side, recognises that now is not the time to impose crippling taxes on our small business owners. There can be no doubt that this crippling tax from the new tolls over many decades will send some small businesses to the wall.

The profit margins in small businesses are small at the best of times, and now is not the best of times.

Parliament is here to serve the people of New South Wales and their interests. It is not here to prop up the profit margins of multinationals in corporate backroom deals at the expense of hardworking small business owners and their families.

If this Government was serious about getting the economy moving again, it would not rob small business owners of thousands of dollars a year.

On the contrary, it would do everything it could to support them. I am proud to support the Member for Wollongong's amendment.

It shows that Labor stands with small business owners, in particular those who use the M5 East, who are trying to get a fair go.

I wish that Members on the other side of the House, particularly the Members of south-west Sydney — the Member for East Hills and the Member for Holsworthy — would do the same and support Labor's amendment. [Time expired.]