As Leader of the Victorian Liberal Nationals, I believe in reward for effort.

Coming from a small business background, I value Victoria’s small business operators who work hard and employ hundreds of thousands of Victorians. I value those who back themselves in order to give opportunity to others.

Small business is the beating heart of Victoria. Only when small business is healthy do we see more local jobs and a stronger Victorian economy.

Over the past six years, particularly during COVID lockdowns in 2020, the Andrews Labor Government’s negligence has smashed small businesses and sole traders. Unfortunately, many will never recover.

They are paying an enormous personal cost for the Andrews Labor Government’s incompetence.

I know that to get small business back on its feet, we need to get the Labor Government off your back.

That’s why we announced our Local Business Action Plan. An O’Brien-led Liberal Nationals Government will ensure more local jobs, stronger local businesses and more local success:

1. Encourage businesses to employ more locals by lowering Payroll Tax. We’ll increase the threshold amount at which a business becomes liable to pay payroll tax from $650,000 to $1.6 million.

This will remove around 15,000 Victorian small businesses from the payroll tax system, while others will save up to $43,650 each year – helping local businesses employ more Victorians.

By cutting payroll tax for small business, we’re going to fill up the shops on High Streets right across Victoria and get this state back to work.

Victoria currently has the worst payroll tax on small business in the country.

A Liberal Nationals Government will cut payroll tax to make us the best state in Australia for small business.

2. Providing up to $1,500 relief from state and local government fees and charges to small businesses; a direct financial boost to small businesses and sole traders who are below the threshold for payroll tax.  

Examples of fees and charges covered include food authority licences, liquor licences, trade licences, event fees, outdoor seating fees and council rates. A Liberal Nationals Government will cut payroll tax to make us the best state in Australia for small business.

3. Freezing selected fees levied on businesses by local councils for four years and restrict local councils from levying new or additional business fees to give financial certainty.  

Fees targeted for this freeze would include footpath and road occupation fees, fees on hairdressers and beauty businesses, fees on food businesses, and fees on accommodation providers. The full list of fees will be selected in consultation with small businesses, across the state.

The policy will send the message that an O’Brien Liberal Nationals Government will stand up for a fair go for small business as they recover from the financial pain caused by lockdowns.

We share a common desire for government to get out of the way, cut red tape and let small business get on with the work of growing our economy.

A Liberal Nationals Government I lead will unashamedly be a government for small business. While Labor focuses on the unions and the big end of town, I will go in to bat for small business.

To me, backing small business means backing the families that run them, the Victorians that work in them, and the communities that rely on them.

That’s the Liberal Nationals’ Local Business Action Plan.

That’s my guarantee to Victorians.