New Small Business Minister appointed

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced his new look cabinet, including a new Small Business Minister.

Michael McCormack has been appointed Australia’s new Small Business Minister, replacing Kelly O’Dwyer, who has retained her role as Assistant Treasurer but under the new title, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services.

Mr McCormack’s appointment has been welcomed by industry bodies including the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA); however, concerns have been raised by both groups following the removal of the small business portfolio from cabinet.

COSBOA CEO, Peter Strong, has labelled the removal of the small business portfolio from cabinet as a “backwards step” for small business.

“Mr McCormack has the confidence of the sector, however, we are disappointed the portfolio has moved from cabinet and we will be seeking answers to why this has happened,” Mr Strong said.

“Small business is powerful, employing around five million Australians and driving the country’s economy, so why has the portfolio moved? What’s happened and what pressures have caused this, perhaps big businesses and unions, are in play? In our opinion this is a step backwards for small business.”

The ARA is urging the new Coalition Government Ministry to make business and the economy a focus of the next three years, despite the removal of the small business portfolio from cabinet.

“Given its important role within the economy, the omission of the small business portfolio from one of the largest cabinets in decades does not augur well,” said Russel Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA.

“We can only hope that Mr McCormack is able to make the voice of small business heard.”

In his announcement the Prime Minister said “every minister is a minster for small business”.

“Small business is the very engine room of our economy. I talk about small business, I think about small business, all the time, so does the Treasurer, it is absolutely fundamental.

“Everyone is focused on small business,” Mr Turnbull said.

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