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Budget & SMEs: not on the sideline, not in the spotlight

Small businesses play a vital role in the Australian economy, employing millions and generating income for countless individuals and business owners. A healthy small business environment is essential for a vibrant and thriving community. The 2023-24 Federal Budget acknowledges small business, but there is a need for greater focus on empowering them, promoting entrepreneurship and providing enhanced reasons to commence and remain in business.

In the short term we see initiatives to support the cost of doing business. In the longer term we see the beginning of infrastructure improvement.

Key Budget Highlights – good for small business

  • The Instant Asset write off extension for Small Business (turnover less than $10m) purchasing eligible assets of up to $20k installed and ready for use before 30 June 2024.

  • CyberWardens Program: We commend the government for acknowledging and supporting the COSBOA-initiated CyberWardens program, a cyber awareness, education, and accreditation program designed by small businesses for small businesses. The pilot program initiated by Telstra ,CommBank, 89Degrees East and COSBOA. Government support provides ability to make a difference in the cyber security behaviour of at least 15,000 small businesses.

  • Industry Growth Program to renew the approach and support for small to medium business to commercialise ideas and grow business.

  • Small Business Energy Assistance:

  • Assistance to 1 million SMBs of up to $650 towards energy bills. Details yet to be provided.

  • Energy-efficient equipment tax boost of 120% tax deductibility: A good start, but more is needed

  • Energy Efficiency Grants up to $25k

  • Cashflow assistance through reducing the GDP uplift on PAYGI & GST instalments.

  • Government expenditure and initiatives on infrastructure, Housing, “Buy Australia Plan” and defence: provides flow on support into small business suppliers.

  • Government commitments to improving the Digital environment.

  • Additional funding to Productivity, Education and Training Fund, to support engagement and practical activities in relation to workplace reforms.

Areas for Improvement

  • Extension of Full Expensing: We urge the government to still consider extending eligibility to the Full Expensing for equipment ordered but not yet installed

  • Least Cost Routing: Supporting reduction in the cost of doing business by mandating Least Cost Routing (lower debit card transaction fees) by default.

  • E-invoicing: Implement e-invoicing to increase security and efficiency.

  • Appoint a Small Business Commissioner to Job Skills Australia. Include small business representatives on each Job Skills Council.

  • Training and Skills Development: Rapidly fund structural development of training and skills by all training providers, including micro-credentials and qualifications to meet the skill needs of small business

Concerns

The previously announced 3 year transition to payday super has to be thoroughly considered with appropriate funding of the technology changes together with the modernisation of the Superannuation Guarantee legislation. This is NOT a no-cost proposal and it is not a “just push the button” solution. A better, efficient, more correct solution for small business would be a move to monthly payments.

Looking to the future

To ensure that small businesses in Australia are not left behind and continue to thrive, it is essential that government continue its collaboration with industry associations who represent small and micro business. By working hand-in-hand with industry associations, the government can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that small businesses face, ensuring the development of targeted solutions. Moreover, these partnerships will help identify and address skills gaps and emerging workforce trends, which will be crucial for the growth and success of small businesses in the rapidly evolving global economy.

We encourage the government to further engage with industry associations, including COSBOA and other relevant stakeholders, to create and implement future-focused policies and support initiatives that prevent small businesses from being left behind. By doing so, the government can build on its existing efforts and lay a stronger foundation for small businesses to flourish and contribute significantly to Australia’s economic growth and prosperity.

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Source: COSBOA

 

Also read: Survey of executives and employees finds workforce satisfaction plummeting

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