Small Business Federal Budget Summary

by Angus Jones

The Federal Budget includes welcome measures targeted at small businesses, but we would have liked to see more.

The Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Enterprises (EEG for SMEs) initiative is a welcome relief, and the move towards a modern regulatory framework will make it easier for small businesses to comply with the law. The Government’s investment in mental health support and reducing administrative burdens shows a good understanding of the challenges faced by SMEs.

While the Federal Government’s budget addresses inflation and cost-of-living pressures, it could have placed more emphasis on sustainable support for small and medium-sized businesses. Although extending the immediate asset write-off limits is positive, further strategic measures are needed to encourage the adoption of digital technology by SMEs. This would drive economic growth and reduce costs for consumers. The budget falls short in providing the broader vision needed for long-term economic stability and growth.

The extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off for 12 months provides immediate relief and improves cash flow. The uncertainty surrounding the passage of the instant asset write-off measure from last year’s budget, with just six weeks left in the financial year, highlights the need for greater predictability to support business planning and investment. Making the instant asset write-off permanent would provide much-needed stability for SMEs.

The substantial investment in mental health support, including $7.7 million over two years for the New Access for Small Business Owners program and $3.1 million for the Small Business Debt Hotline, shows a deep empathy for the challenges faced by SMEs.

The $325 of energy bill relief available to eligible small businesses will help to soften some of the impact of rising energy prices, but we question whether it goes far enough. 

We’re delighted to see the government invest to extend the Small Business Debt Helpline and the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program. We know from speaking to our own customers that small business owners face unique challenges, and can very often feel alone in the face of significant financial pressure. The mental wellbeing of small business owners often has an outsized effect on the staff and loved ones around them, so it’s great to see the government recognise this and make it a priority. We encourage the government to continue to invest in these services, and would love to see the level of investment increase in future budgets.  

The budget includes welcome measures for small businesses however, it misses the opportunity to make these changes permanent, which would provide SMEs with the long-term stability they need. 

Contributed by Lars Leber, VP and Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks Australia.

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