Victorian small businesses will be the big winners under a second term of the Napthine Government, with the Premier today committing $19.3 million to small business initiatives if re-elected.
The Premier joined Minister for Small Business Russell Northe and the Member for Bentleigh Elizabeth Miller at Extra Fresh food centre in Bentleigh to celebrate the Coalition's second Support Small Business Day.
"Small businesses are an essential part of our local communities, providing jobs for more than 1.2 million Victorians. I am proud to report that since we came to government, small businesses have created an extra 77,000 jobs across Victoria," Dr Napthine said.
"I am pleased to further announce that under a re-elected Coalition Government we will commit $11.3 million over four years to support and enhance the vital role of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner.
"Earlier this year we passed legislation to expand the powers of the Commissioner to provide greater support for small businesses and achieve more effective and efficient outcomes.
"We want to ensure those powers are complemented with the resources needed for the Commissioner to be a truly valuable asset to the small business community. This funding boost will mean Victoria's Small Business Commissioner can hear more cases, resolve more disputes and reach more small businesses who need help."
Mr Northe said the Coalition Government was committed to improving the skills, capabilities and strength of Victorian small business owners.
"This year's Small Business Festival was bigger and better than ever, with over 36,000 people attending events across the state, with nearly a quarter of those attending in regional areas," Mr Northe said.
"I'm excited that a re-elected Coalition Government will boost funding for future Small Business Festivals by 40 per cent. Our $8 million commitment over the next four years will deliver an additional three regional Small Business Festivals in Mildura, Shepparton and East Gippsland, adding to the existing six regional festivals that ran in Victoria throughout August.
"We also recognise the need to provide targeted support to budding entrepreneurs, so today we are committing to creating a new mini festival that focuses on giving people the necessary skills needed to turn their business idea into a thriving start up."
The Small Business Start up Festival would run for one week in August and be full of events that give budding entrepreneurs and the next generation of small business owners the necessary skills they need to start a business. Events would cover topics such as developing a business plan, starting an online business and trade marking an idea.
Mr Northe said the Napthine Government is reducing the cost of doing business in Victoria and delivering on its commitment to cut red tape by 25 per cent.
"We have reduced the payroll tax rate by 0.05 per cent, saving more than 39,000 businesses $234 million over four years. This means Victorian businesses now pay the second lowest payroll taxes in Australia," Mr Northe said.
"This year we also cut WorkCover premiums by two per cent, benefitting 75 per cent of employers, or 115,883 businesses, and resulting in over $40 million of savings per year."
Ms Miller said she was delighted to be a part of today's commitments on Support Small Business Day, a day dedicated to acknowledging the important role small businesses play in supporting thriving communities.
"I engage with my local businesses every day and I know how crucial they are to the local economy and providing jobs for Bentleigh families," Ms Miller said.
"That's why we are building a more productive Victoria by providing opportunities for small businesses to grow, reducing red tape and creating local jobs.
"Small businesses in my community tell me that they fear the election of an Andrews Labor Government. They are worried about increased costs because of Labor's proposed extra public holidays. They are worried about an increase in red and green tape. And they are worried about the risk of Labor destroying business and consumer confidence by ripping up contracts for East West Link."