Candidates detail plans to prop up small business
THIRTEEN regional candidates vying for your vote have detailed their plans to prop up small business and their stance on axing payroll tax.
Speaking at the Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce event, the Mackay, Mirani and Whitsunday candidates shared their vision for the businesses.
Whitsunday and Mackay candidates will go head-to-head again on Thursday October 15 during further livestreamed debates.
During the chamber debate, Whitsunday LNP candidate Amanda Camm said current "red tape" and duplication between government departments was a deterrent for starting new businesses.
"If I was a young person with an entrepreneurial mind … I would pack up and go home," Ms Camm said.
She said the LNP believed in industry working alongside government to set regulations to incentivise business and grow the economy.
But Ms Camm said she, together with Mackay LNP candidate Chris Bonanno and Mirani LNP candidate Tracie Newitt, would not commit to cutting the payroll tax before seeing the state budget.
Incumbent Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said Labor had introduced small business mentors, an innovation minister and reinstated a small business commissioner axed when the LNP was in power.
Ms Gilbert said payroll tax concessions had already been granted during COVID-19, but did not confirm whether Labor would consider abolishing the tax.
"We need to move forward in a responsible way," she said.
Supporting small business came down to focusing on the northern half of Queensland for incumbent Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan.
"There's an inherent bias to firms in southeast Queensland," the NQ First leader said.
"There's so many missed opportunities out there."
Fellow party member Jason Borg, said the success of small businesses depended on bigger industries and businesses "thriving".
Like Ms Camm, the Mirani candidate too was waiting on the budget delivery before getting behind removing payroll tax, despite Mr Costigan supporting a push to abolish it.
In setting himself apart from the other candidates at the debate, Whitsunday candidate Ciaron Paterson suggested a youth mentor program for small business.
"I would like to see the government form a committee or part of an organisation to get the younger people, or more troubled youths working," the Katter's Australian Party member said.
"Instead of locking them up, start a program and mentor them to work and make things bounce back that way."
Mr Paterson said he was also waiting on the budget before taking a payroll tax position.
Incumbent Mirani MP Stephen Andrew said small businesses were struggling to fill jobs after the JobKeeper scheme was rolled out prematurely.
He said a "sliding scale" payroll tax would take pressure off small and medium sized businesses.
Legalise Cannabis Queensland Whitsunday candidate Paul Hidler said decriminalising marijuana and removing the stigma around consumption would help businesses fill labour gaps.
Mr Hidler said he could not give an "a la carte balance endorsement" to removing the payroll tax as it would give an unfair advantage to big businesses.
"You could actually replace the payroll tax with a consumption tax on medical cannabis," he suggested.
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