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‘Business as usual Federal Budget’ fails to maximise cost of living relief at business tills, says industry group

Household cost of living relief won’t go far at the checkout while the Federal Budget missed the opportunity to address immediate increasing business input cost pressures.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) Policy and Advocacy Manager Cherie Josephson said the immediate increasing cost pressures to run a business day-to-day in Queensland were not alleviated in the Federal Budget; reducing the impact of household cost relief.

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“Businesses can only absorb so much,” Ms Josephson said.

“The risk is some of those costs will have to be passed onto the consumer.

“This extra money in household purses is not going to go very far if there is little relief to immediate costs to business. This is a business-as-usual budget, in a Queensland economy which is not business as usual.

“We’re seeing increasing costs for supply chains, freight, labour, production, and other day-to-day business input costs – and they are still increasing. At the same time business revenues remain subdued for some of the hardest hit industries as a result of COVID and recent weather events.”

Ms Josephson said while the Federal Budget missed some opportunities to support Queensland businesses, there were welcome mechanisms especially in skilling workforces, mental and financial health support and red tape reductions.

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“An investment in upskilling and retraining reflects businesses’ urgent need for a skilled workforce. We know from the December 2021 quarter Pulse Report recruiting and retaining staff were among the most significant constraints on business growth,” Ms Josephson said.

“Additionally, we welcome the business digital technology investment boost with an additional 20 per cent deduction for supporting their digital adoption. Our 2021 Digital Readiness Survey found more than one in three businesses agreed digital technologies were driving their growth.”

Ms Josephson said additional support for mental and financial resources for businesses to assist in ongoing recovery from COVID and recent flooding was welcome.

“CCIQ data found mental health issues among businesses increased from 43% to more than 60% in 2021,” Ms Josephson said.

“CCIQ has been advocating for further mental health support for business so this recognition is welcome.

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“An emphasis on funding better regional telecommunications acknowledges a need for improved connectivity in regional Queensland and responds to CCIQ’s submission to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.

“Finally red tape reductions for business interactions with government, including improving payment terms and compliance requirements, is well received and follows CCIQ’s December quarter 2021 Pulse Report which found initiatives to reduce red tape ranked the top priority for Queensland businesses.

“Close to 90% of businesses were experiencing a moderate to major impact from complying with government regulation, up from 72% four years ago.

“Now all eyes will be on the State Budget to see how the Queensland Government will maximise federal investment in business and to further accelerate these initiatives for the benefits of businesses right across Queensland.”

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