Federal Budget 2022/23 – what’s in it for small businesses?Stuart Taverner
With COVID-19 lockdowns now squarely in the rear-view mirror, the government is touting Tuesday’s federal budget as a “responsible budget” that “starts the hard task of Budget repair”.
For the first time in almost 10 years, a federal labor government has outlined how it will be spending your tax-payer money over the next few years and beyond – but is there anything in there for small businesses?
At a glance, the big ticket announcements for families and businesses include:
- Increased investment in NBN for metro and regions
- Extra funding for mental health support for small business owners
- Childcare subsidy increases
- Extended Paid Parental Leave from 18 to 26 weeks
- A plan to build 20,000 new affordable homes over 5 years
The budget announcement acknowledged growing challenges for Australian businesses including intense and frequent climate disasters, a substantial global economic slowdown, high inflation and rising interest rates.
Over the next year, small businesses can expect to see inflation hit 7.75 per cent rate at the end of this year, 5.75 per cent by the middle of next year, and 3.5 per cent in mid-2024.
What’s in there for Small Businesses?
There will be $62.6 million in grants for small business to improve their energy efficiency and implement energy usage reduction initiatives.
Cheaper childcare for 1.26 million families will be funded by $4.7 billion over 4 years. Namely, Child Care Subsidy rates will increase up to 90 per cent for eligible families earning less than $530,000.
Slight increases ($40 per week) are coming for minimum wage earners.
Supporting people in businesses
An extra $10.9 million has been allocated to fund the New Access for Small Business Owners mental health support program operated by Beyond Blue. These programs have already been running through the challenges of COVID-19 and recent natural disasters.
$7.9 million will be spent over four years to make it easier for small businesses to reach agreements on pay and conditions with their employees and providing bargaining support for small businesses.
A one-stop shop for workplace sexual harassment information will be established. Plus, strengthened laws to prevent sexual harassment, including a requirement for employers to actively prevent sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
Internet and Connectivity
There is $2.4 billion in funding to extend NBN fibre access to 1.5 million more premises. Plus, funding of $1.2 billion to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in rural and regional Australia.
Small businesses wanting online independent advice at low cost will be able to access $18.6 million in Digital Solutions grants for advisory service providers.
Training and Skills
Extra funding has been earmarked for 480,000 fee-free TAFE places and a $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to modernise TAFEs.
The Technology Investment Boost and Skills and Training Boost for small businesses will continue to support the 20 per cent tax reduction.
The Government will provide $350 million over 5 years to deliver an additional 10,000 affordable dwellings, and the State Government will contribute the same amount for another 10,000 homes. The government said the combination of support and a more secure pipeline of supply will encourage more cost-effective investment in affordable housing.
Farming and Agriculture
In the face of growing risks posed by pests and diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, the Government is investing $134.1 million to bolster Australia’s biosecurity system.