Budget 2017: good news for business
Australian business groups have welcomed a focus on small business and infrastructure in the Federal Budget.
One measure getting the thumbs-up from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) is the extension of the instant asset tax write-off for small businesses, which will encourage them to buy more equipment.
The $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended to 30 June, 2018 and also applies to businesses with revenue of up to $10 million. Previously, that threshold was only $2 million.
When the tax concession was first introduced, it was welcomed by materials handling vendors and led to a push for sub-$20,000 pricing to allow businesses to benefit from the write-off.
Other business-friendly measures which should help the forklift industry include the allocation of $300 million to the states as an incentive to reduce red tape compliance.
The company tax cuts were already confirmed before the Federal Budget, but the government has taken the opportunity to reconfirm its intention to make tax cuts available to all businesses.
The Budget also includes funding to help simplify the business registration and licensing services across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. Observers believe anything which makes it easier to start businesses will boost demand for materials handling products and services.
There has also been support for a number of major infrastructure projects flagged in the Budget.
However, it was not all smiles and back-slapping, with some concern about government spending. "(The) Budget shows the difficulty the government faces in getting spending under control," says ACCI chief executive James Pearson. "We are pleased to see action to achieve a surplus by 2020/21, but are concerned that most of the improvement to the bottom line comes from more taxes rather than less spending."
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox has mixed feelings about the Budget. "Critically, the Budget provides a substantial boost for smaller businesses by lowering tax burdens, extending asset write-off eligibility and cutting red tape. It gives welcome support for apprenticeships and traineeships through the new Skilling Australians Fund. And the heavy emphasis on infrastructure investment will serve as a foundation for longer-term improvements in transport in our cities and regions."
However, he also criticises the lack of "more immediate cost-relief measures" to tackle the east coast energy crisis.