Politics

Budget 2017: Tax changes and red tape cuts on the table as Scott Morrison “backs” small business

Eloise Keating /

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison delivers a pre-budget address to the Australian Business Economists Forum in Sydney, Thurday, April 27, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING

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Treasurer Scott Morrison says the federal government is in the small business community’s corner and it will give SMEs further tax relief and cuts to red tape.

Not all Australians have shared in recent economic growth and that includes small business operators, Morrison will say as he delivers the 2017 federal budget in Parliament House tonight.

“Small business owners have gone without to keep their businesses open,” the Treasurer will say.

It’s time to back those business owners, the Treasurer will say on Tuesday evening.

“Small business owners are out there fighting for growth in their businesses every day. They deserve our respect and support.”

In a budget that forecasts a deficit of $29.4 billion in 2017-18 – which the government hopes to turn into a projected surplus of $7.4 billion in 2020-21 – the government has committed to a number of measures aimed directly at small businesses.

They are:

A 12-month extension to the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off scheme;
$300 million in funding for state and territory governments to reduce red tape;
$100 million in funding for advanced manufacturing and scientific research;
The establishment of a new national skills fund to train and support apprentices;
An extension to the crowdsourced equity framework to include proprietary companies; and
Scholarships and study hubs for students in regional Australia.

The budget also includes:

A “major” bank levy and tougher rules for banks and other financial institutions;
Increased penalties for businesses and individuals that breach Australian Consumer Law;
Stricter rules around capital gains tax concessions for small businesses; and
More funding for the Australian Taxation Office to crack down on the black economy.

While the Treasurer will say “there is clearly the potential for better days ahead”, the government must make the choice to live “within its means”.

This means abandoning some $13 billion of saving measures that the government has been unable to pass through the Parliament and looking at ways to raise revenue instead; the government has “drawn a line and reset” Morrison said in a press conference on Tuesday.

As well as imposing a levy on the nation’s largest banks, the government will also seek to legislate to increase the Medicare Levy by 0.5 percentage points to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“We have previously sought to close this gap with budget savings that we have not been able to get through the Parliament,” Morrison will say in his speech.

As expected, the budget also addresses housing affordability concerns using a suite of measures, including giving first home buyers the ability to salary sacrifice into their superannuation account above compulsory contribution levels from July 1, and allowing downsizers the ability to make non-concessional superannuation contributions of up to $300,000 from the sale of their homes.

The government also plans to tighten “mutual obligation requirements” for those on welfare.

Welfare recipients who do not show up to appointments or take suitable jobs will face a suite of increasing penalties, while 5000 new welfare recipients will face the prospect of drug testing.

“We will continue to stop people trying to take an easy ride on our welfare system to protect it for those who need it most,” Morrison will say.

“The best way to get your welfare budget under control is to get Australians off welfare and into work.”

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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