Alex Smith (left), owner of Abellissimo kitchen shop in Ballina, chats with (from left) Federal Small Business Minister Craig Emerson, Page MP Janelle Saffin and Ballina Chamber of Commerce chairman Glenn Costello.
Alex Smith (left), owner of Abellissimo kitchen shop in Ballina, chats with (from left) Federal Small Business Minister Craig Emerson, Page MP Janelle Saffin and Ballina Chamber of Commerce chairman Glenn Costello. Rebecca Lollback

Business minister bears tax breaks

TAX breaks will help businesses on the Northern Rivers get through the tough times, Federal Small Business Minister Craig Emerson has said.

Yesterday he visited business owners in Ballina, Lismore and Casino, accompanied by Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin.

The costs of rates and rents have skyrocketed for many local businesses, forcing some to close their doors for good.

The problem has been most noticeable in Byron Bay, where Byron United has described rents as ‘outrageous’ and ‘unsustainable’.

Owner of Abellissimo kitchen shop in Ballina, Alex Smith, said despite a recent spike in trade due to the popularity of MasterChef, things were still difficult.

“We dodged a bullet (during the Global Financial Crisis),” he said.

“There would have been a lot of businesses close in regional Australia without the Government’s stimulus money.”

Dr Emerson said the Government was trying to ease the pressure and he agreed the stimulus packaged had helped many businesses on the North Coast.

“We know small businesses are still suffering, even though the economy is improving,” he said.

“Under our tax breaks, small businesses can write off assets worth up to $5000 straight away.”

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