Praise for business: Treasurer encourages increased hiring, growth

Safe entry: Gladys Berejiklian was presented with a "shire passport" by function organisers Tony Blaine (left) and former state MP Malcolm Kerr.
Safe entry: Gladys Berejiklian was presented with a "shire passport" by function organisers Tony Blaine (left) and former state MP Malcolm Kerr.

STATE Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian says Sutherland Shire businesses are "self-starters", who don't need to be propped up by the relocation of a government department to the area.

"Of course, we will consider where departments go in the future, but I think the shire is bigger and better than that," she told this week's shire business forum, Talking with the Treasurers.

"You don't need to rely on that as your only means of growing local support and local jobs."

Ms Berejiklian was replying to a question from former Labor senator Michael Forshaw, who is now part of ShireBiz, which organised the event at Doltone House, Sylvania Waters.

Mr Forshaw asked whether at least one government department or agency could be moved to the shire "rather than see it all go to western Sydney".

He said, in the past few years, the shire had lost the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre and the Caltex refinery, and Toyota would soon be going.

Ms Berejiklian praised ShireBiz for fostering "entrepreneurial zeal" in the area.

She said the best thing the state government could do was "encourage people to grow their businesses, hire staff and grow the economy".

"That's why a lot of the policies we have, in reducing payroll tax, creating incentives and investing in critical infrastructure locally, whether it is hospitals, roads or trains, is so critical for the success of the community," she said.

■ An "exciting period" in Sutherland Shire's history had started with the gazettal of the new local environmental plan (LEP), mayor Kent Johns said.

"The LEP will produce in excess of 12,000 new dwellings over the next 10-15 years, and 3000-5000 in the next few years," he said.

Cr Johns said this would not only increase housing opportunities, it would create work in the construction and planning industries.

The focus should now be on "using our local people" for this work.

"I know our budget is pretty much Joe Hockey's petty cash, but we are talking about a $10 billion economy, and it's an exciting time to be in the shire," he said. (See stories below)

ACCOUNTANT: DEDUCTION DOESN’T CUT IT

Small businesses were ‘‘jumping on’’ the tax break, which allows businesses an immediate 100 per cent depreciation claim on new equipment up to $20,000, federal Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

He was replying to a question from an accountant, who said the tax break ‘‘doesn’t cut it’’, and businesses had to have the funds to buy the equipment before they could claim for it.

The accountant said businesses needed more substantial assistance such as the abolition of payroll tax.

Mr Frydenberg said the government would have liked to have given a bigger tax cut to a much larger range of companies, but was restrained by the $48billion deficit it had inherited.

‘‘The evidence that is coming in now quite strongly is that companies are jumping on this [depreciation measure],’’ he said.

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