Here’s what SMEs want from tonight’s budget


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas.

Six years ago, the Coalition delivered what was widely received to be a small business budget. 

The 2015 federal budget included the blockbuster $20,000 instant asset write-off, along with a range of other policies for SMEs, and the sector was buzzing. 

Small business ombudsman Bruce Billson was small business minister at the time and his enthusiasm for the small business measures was met by many businesses themselves. 

That year’s budget was far from perfect, but it stands out among the ones since as actually prioritising small businesses. 

As SmartCompany heads into this year’s lockup in Parliament House, we’re hoping to see a budget that channels some of those 2015 vibes. 

Almost every year without fail, the government press releases accompanying the budget papers proclaim small businesses as the “engine room of the economy” and yet, it is rare to see a truly small business-focused budget. 

Our readers too are hopeful. 

In a survey run by SmartCompany with our partners at Reckon, skills and training along with support for women in workplaces emerged as key areas SMEs are hoping the government addresses tomorrow night. 

Our readers are also hoping to see incentives for hiring new employees and “sensible” and “holistic” reform to the tax system. 

Such measures would build on those announced in the last federal budget in October, which went some way to creating a climate of confidence for the more than 2 million Australian small businesses. 

But while last year’s full expensing measure was certainly welcome, the JobMaker hiring credits missed the mark and, in the end, were not widely used by businesses. 

We have many clues about what will be in tonight’s budget, and the focus on deregulation and the digital economy set the stage for a budget that can make a difference for SMEs. 

As always, the devil is in the detail and SMEs will also be watching closely for budget measures directly related to their industries. 

What is clear is that today is an opportunity for the government to boldly put small businesses at the top of its priority list, and deliver. 

We’ll be sending our newsletter subscribers a special budget edition of SmartCompany straight from the lockup tonight. Make sure you’re signed up to be among the first to know what’s in the budget for small businesses. 

You can also join us for a special budget edition of SmartCompany Talks with COSBOA’s Peter Strong and a panel of small business owners tomorrow, Wednesday, May 12.


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