Budget support crucial on Queensland small business agenda

Monday 8 May, 2017 | By: Default Admin | Tags: Federal Budget, small business wishlist, infrastructure, tax reform

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says the Federal Budget is critical for the Turnbull Government, urging the Treasurer to deliver for small business.

CCIQ General Manager of Advocacy Kate Whittle said Tuesday night’s Budget must send a strong signal to the business community that the Coalition can deliver steady government and meaningful reform, with infrastructure emerging as a key theme.

“Treasurer Scott Morrison has flagged the 2017-18 Federal Budget as one that appeals to middle Australia, as pre-budget announcements on schools, housing affordability, good and bad debt (for increased infrastructure spending), some changes to taxation, and a freeze on cuts to services such as Medicare, leading as key themes,” Ms Whittle said.

While there had been few Queensland-specific announcements in the Budget build-up, small businesses in the Sunshine State were cautiously optimistic about possible outcomes tomorrow.

“Queensland is home to almost 20 per cent of small businesses in Australia, with 406,000 small businesses employing around 43 per cent of the private sector workforce. SMEs also make up 99 per cent of all businesses in Queensland, contributing around $100 billion to Gross State Product,” Ms Whittle said.

“With these staggering figures in mind, supporting small business success is critical to maintaining the overall health of the Queensland and Australian economy.

“The 2017-18 Federal Budget represents the perfect opportunity for the Government to introduce measures to kick-start the small business economy in a time of extraordinary transition.”

CCIQ had highlighted five key priorities the Government must address to support small businesses to grow, invest and employ.

PRIORITY 1: TAX REFORM

SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET AGENDA

•           Accelerate the reduced company tax rate from 10 years to 5 years for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.

•           Extend the $20,000 instant asset write-off initiative for a further 3 years.

•           Leadership on national tax reform to address impending revenue shortfall and to tackle the fiscal deficit.

•           Increase pressure on multinational companies for tax compliance by further strengthening the Government’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law powers.

PRIORITY 2: WORKFORCE SKILLING

SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET AGENDA

•           Recommit to full funding of a new National Partnership Agreement focused on apprenticeships, enabling all governments to work together to deliver a national apprenticeship system that meets the needs of industry, young people, and workers wanting to change industries.

•           Ensure employers, particularly those in regional areas, can continue accessing skilled workers through the new temporary skilled migration visa where skilled labour shortages occur.

•           Targeted promotion and education for small businesses around the benefits of the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which aims to address the rising youth unemployment rate

PRIORITY 3: INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET AGENDA

•           Increase the productive debt of the Federal Government through greater infrastructure investment into projects identified in Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List report.

•           Accelerate the roll out of ‘City Deals’ across the country, particularly for regional cities in Queensland who are experiencing challenges in the transition post resources boom.

•           Fast track the release of available funding under the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) Fund through an improved project assessment process.

•           Prioritise the roll out of the NBN, particularly in rural and regional Queensland, where businesses currently experience unreliable internet connection.

  • Ensure adequate funding is allocated for the ongoing maintenance of infrastructure across Queensland.

PRIORITY 4: ENERGY PRICING

SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET AGENDA

•           Undertake regulation reform to streamline processes and avoid duplication, inconsistencies and competing agendas.

•           Harmonise energy and climate policy across Australia that puts downward pressure on energy prices.

•           Sustainably increase gas development to ensure domestic users have access to affordable gas supply.

•           Introduce tax deductions for investments in renewable energy assets for small businesses.

PRIORITY 5: SME GROWTH & INNOVATION

SMALL BUSINESS BUDGET AGENDA

•           Streamline tourist visas to further boost Australia’s tourism industry, with funding from the Government directed at providing greater support for the regional areas of Queensland.

•           Encourage competition in Government owned services to improve efficiencies and lower costs.

•           Extend the ‘Accelerated Depreciation for Small Business’ scheme beyond 30 June 2017 to reinvigorate small business capital investment.

•           Increase the number of places available under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), which will assist young entrepreneurs in starting up a small business.

Ms Whittle said it will be hard for the Turnbull Government to match previous Budgets in terms of small business friendliness.

“However, we are confident the Federal Government has heard the calls of Queensland small business and is prioritising investment in productive infrastructure to futureproof our economic potential as a nation,” she said.

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