Small business left behind by ‘underwhelming’ Queensland State Budget

Small business left behind by ‘underwhelming’ Queensland State Budget

Leading fintech SME lender Banjo Loans says the Queensland Budget will do little to ease pressure on struggling small businesses fighting weak consumer sentiment and rising costs.

The State Government unveiled its 2023-24 Budget on Tuesday, (JUNE 13) with key measures to help households deal with the cost-of-living crisis, including a $550 energy rebate and free kindy for four-year-olds, as well as $19 billion for state-owned clean energy projects.

The Government also outlined its four-year “Big Build” capital works program involving $89 billion of spending on infrastructure and generating an estimated 58,000 jobs.

Small business was included with the continuation of the $650 rebate on electricity bills for about 205,000 eligible small businesses. The 50 per cent payroll tax rebate for apprentices and trainees was also extended until June 30, 2024.

The extension of the 1 per cent discount on payroll tax for eligible regional employers was also retained until June 30, 2030, with total tax relief under the discount estimated at $505.4 million over the four years through to 2026-27.

However, Banjo Loans Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fitzpatrick said there was little new in the budget for small businesses with individuals and families taking priority.

“The jobs to be generated from the “Big Build” program is positive but the other announcements are merely keeping existing policies in place and extending the timeframe,” Fitzpatrick said.

“We know from our SME Compass Report that small business faces significant challenges this year from inflation, rising supply costs and increasing interest rates.

“Small business is a huge employer and any rise in unemployment would have far greater negative outcomes for the very individuals the Queensland state government is rightly looking to support.  That’s why it’s more important than ever for State Governments to incentivise investment and spending by small businesses and undertake much needed reforms, to keep employment outcomes strong.

“This budget doesn’t do that and therefore is overall underwhelming from a small business perspective.

“We would have liked to see payroll tax relief and energy rebates increased and extended to cover more eligible businesses. The Government has missed a trick here to use the increased royalties from coal to provide substantive relief to both households and small business.”