This article is only for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, financial or tax advice. Make sure you consult a professional regarding your unique business needs.
October’s Federal Budget has been released against a backdrop of tough challenges — economic uncertainty, high-interest rates, floods and staff shortages to name a few. Inflation is predicted to peak at 7.75% in the December quarter and then begin to dissipate over the next two years. While real wage growth isn’t expected to surpass inflation until the following financial year.
There’s a lot of information out there, it can be overwhelming and downright confusing as a small business owner to make sense of the initiatives. Small businesses employ more than 5 million Australians nationwide, but for small business owners, a clear summary of direct support in this budget is somewhat hard to find. Looking more widely, we’ve summarised some of the key points you should know below.
Supporting small business well-being
The government has announced $15.1 million in dedicated resources to extend the small business mental health and financial counseling programs and other measures which have assisted small businesses during the pandemic and recent natural disasters.
Investments in energy efficiency for small and medium-sized businesses
In good news if you are planning to invest in your businesses energy efficiency. A new grant program will soon offer $62.6 million aimed to help empower SMB business owners to invest in energy-efficient and cost-effective upgrades for their businesses.
Workplace relations support
The government has pledged to work with small business owners to deliver a simpler and more reliable workplace relations system. The government has said that this will help business owners reach agreements with their employees, provide bargaining support, and assist with leave entitlements for employees.
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Cost of living relief
Cost of living is at the top of all Australian minds right now and is a headline in the October Federal Budget. Cheaper childcare, expansions to paid parental leave, more affordable housing, and additional support for first-home buyers are some of the initiatives announced in the new budget. But how do these initiatives benefit small business owners?
Reducing the cost of childcare and expanding paid parental leave
The high costs of childcare and access to paid parental leave have previously disincentivised parents, particularly women from re-entering the workforce. The budget states that the new measures announced could boost the hours worked by women by roughly 1.4 million hours per week in 2024. Businesses that are struggling with skills shortages could benefit from the policy as new parents may find it easier to balance their personal commitments and ability to return to work in the coming years.
Affordable housing and first home buyer support
Many Australians do not have access to affordable housing. The National Housing Accord has announced a target to provide one million new and well-located homes over 5 years beginning in 2024. Housing availability in key locations means more skilled workers set up for employment within our economy, an important win for businesses.
Better access to training and skills
The government has placed a strong focus on the development of skills within the economy to help address workforce shortages. Some of the measures announced include fee-free TAFE, the establishment of Jobs and Skills Australia, greater access to education, and a skilled migration system. A welcome relief for business owners in all industries bearing the grunt of pandemic-amplified skilled worker shortages.
You can learn more about the measures announced as part of the October Federal Budget here. Read more about measures announced this year for small businesses including the Technology Investment Boost here.