Albanese government delivers budget for the moment

The Albanese government has delivered a modest and practical budget that invests in growing local jobs and skills, makes inroads in restoring the nation’s balance sheet, and works to safeguard Australia from renewed global turbulence.

“Tonight’s budget is a responsible one. Now the hard work must begin to maintain momentum,” Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“This budget covers the essential elements of economic management and tackling growing cost pressures. However, longer term structural challenges that threaten to hold us back will need continued, and rigorous, attention.

“As the budget warns, we cannot afford to be complacent against the global headwinds of severe inflationary pressures, climbing interest rates and soaring energy prices.

“Whilst this budget takes a first step towards fiscal repair, long-term challenges remain considerable.

Growing workforce participation

“This budget provides important strategic directions to encourage stronger labour force participation, particularly through expanded paid parental leave and cheaper childcare – economic reforms that will promote stronger opportunity and gender equality.

“Combined with changes that remove barriers to employment for pensioners, welcoming back skilled migrants, and increase supply of affordable housing, these measures will help address the acute staff shortages faced by business.

Tackling the skills deficit

“The government has provided a solid start to underpin investment in skills and training. Continued support for apprentices and trainees, in the form of wage subsidies, will ensure job seekers have the skills that employers need.

“A new National Skills Agreement that delivers a real increase in VET funding is essential. However, accelerating job creation cannot solely be achieved through increased TAFE funding alone. The importance of private training providers must also be recognised.

Enabling small business to level up

“With many small businesses forced to close their doors through COVID-19, and subsequent natural disasters, expanded access to mental health and financial counselling programs will help promote resilience.

“The retention of the 20 per cent tax deduction boost for small businesses to upskill employees and support the uptake of new technologies will also lift digital capability and boost productivity.

Building capacity means more jobs

“The maintenance of the instant asset write-off for small and medium businesses will continue to deliver confidence amid renewed uncertainty, however a longer-term agenda to reverse the free-fall of business investment is sorely needed.

“Key infrastructure, with a focus on enhancing productivity and safety, will ensure Australian businesses can remain competitive against their global counterparts. The $2.4 billion expansion of the NBN over the next four years will provide a valuable boost to digital capability.

Planning for the future of work

“There is one discordant note. Proposed reforms in industrial relations represent a seismic shift in Australia’s bargaining system.

“We are concerned that these changes will drag many businesses into so-called agreements that they do not support and cannot afford.

Reducing emissions, creating new industry

“Affordable, reliable, and secure energy, that meets our international commitments for decarbonising our economy, remains a pressing priority for business.

“Through the Powering Australia plan and funding for new energy infrastructure, the budget provides significant investment to underpin the transition to a net-zero future, that supports new opportunity for industry.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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