The Federal Budget has been announced with big wins for small business and startups as the government invests in Australian businesses.
This week, the 2023-2024 Federal Budget was released with a slew of policies and government support for SME and startup businesses. Measures introduced include tax breaks for SMEs, energy bill relief and cash flow relief, and a new $392 million Industry Growth Program.
The small business asset write-off extends the instant asset program for one year, with a $20,000 threshold for businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million.
A cash flow relief initiative is set to half the increase in quarterly tax instalments for GST and PAYG in 2023-2024, providing 2.1 million eligible small businesses with a tax instalment increase of only 6 percent instead of 12 percent.
On top of this, the bonus tax deduction Small Business Energy Incentive will help up to 3.8 million SMEs save energy with a maximum bonus deduction of $20,000. Announced earlier this year, the energy price relief is supported with $1.5 billion over the next two years to deliver a one-off reduction of up to $650 in direct power bill support each.
Commenting on the support, ARA CEO Paul Zahra commends the measures. “We commend the government on some smart and timely measures for small business. These include the continuation of the $20,000 instant asset write-off, energy bill relief and the new Small Business Energy Incentive to encourage investments in energy efficiency and electrification, to reduce costs and emissions in the long-term,” Mr Zahra said.
“The Small Business Energy Incentive will have positive impacts for retailers and the environment and was advocated for by the ARA pre-budget.
“However, we’re ultimately experiencing a crisis in the cost of doing business, and small businesses are bearing the brunt of this. Energy costs are just one of the higher costs of inputs that businesses are currently managing. Businesses need more support managing higher labour, leasing and supply chain costs as well as insurance.”
To support startups and business growth, the government has pledged $393.4 million to establish a new Industry Growth Program. “This will enable emerging businesses to become the big employers of the future – backing our innovators with investment and advice so they can make the jump from brilliant idea to business plan to a growing enterprise,” Ministr for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, said in a statement.
The government is also set to target cyber crime with a $23.4 million program to help SMEs protect themselves against cyber threats and educate staff, to be delivered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia. Similarily, a $101 million investment into the “responsible development” of AI and quantum industries within Australia has been developed, to be supported by the education of cyber safety and security.
“We commend the government’s relief measures in these challenging times which focus on protecting our most vulnerable people and businesses. Australians are rightfully keeping a close eye on cost-of-living reprieve, but so too are retailers – with discretionary spending beginning to significantly soften in the wake of inflation and consecutive interest rate rises,” Mr Zahra said. “If small business is the backbone of Australia’s economy, the retail community is the beating heart. Alleviating cost-of-living pressures is a vital component of economic stimulation.”
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