CPA Australia has called out Labor for not including more support for small businesses in Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese’s budget reply speech.
CPA Australia general manager, Dr Jane Rennie, commended the Government’s Budget for being “short, sharp” and “temporary and targeted”, and for responding to prevailing economic conditions.
“By contrast, the Budget Reply doesn’t seem to fully acknowledge the challenges and impacts of the last two years and draws on solutions from a pre-COVID age.
“In the end, the Budget Reply really only provides a ‘back of the envelope’ sketch of Labor’s economic approach. This doesn’t give Australians a complete picture of the Opposition’s policies leading into the election.”
Rennie said she was disappointed that small businesses were barely mentioned in the Budget Reply.
“Small businesses are incredibly important to Australia’s economy. They make up around 98% of all Australian businesses, employ over 40% of the domestic workforce and contribute the equivalent of one-third of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.”
CPA Australia wanted to know whether Labor would support the Government’s new Technology Investment Boost and the Skills and Training Boost, announced in the Budget, which was estimated to cost the government $1.55 billion in foregone revenue.
The packages allowed small businesses to claim a $120 tax deduction for every $100 spent on training and digital technologies, including cloud computing, eInvoicing, cybersecurity and web design.
“Tuesday’s Budget committed substantial funding to the new Technology Investment Boost and Skills and Training Boost. These are incredibly important for business investment. Neither was mentioned in the Budget Reply, which may leave businesses wondering if they should proceed with technology purchases.
“We encourage the Opposition to let Australians know how it intends to support the small business sector,” said Rennie.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) called Tuesday’s Budget “a big win for small business”, with the announcement of $8 million going to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
But it said the Government was unclear how Australia’s net debt would be reduced.
IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway, said: "This Budget is a broad-brush bid to respond to short-term pressure
"The Budget forecasts net debt peaking at 33.1% in 2026. For business to have confidence we must see a plan to tackle Australia's long-term debt position.