Small businesses have breathed a sigh of relief after escaping the worst of yesterday’s federal budget cuts.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany there was nothing for SMEs to feel too upset or angry about in the budget.
“It’s not a bad budget for small business, given all the cuts,” he says.
“It looks like everyone is going to share the pain.”
Strong welcomed budget measures like the Entrepreneur’s Infrastructure Program and the extension of unfair contract provisions to small business as part of a broader strategy by the government to assist small business.
“By the look of it there is a strategy in place, because in the background there is the competition review and the government is also looking at tax,” Strong says.
“In the past, reviews have been generic and looking at all businesses but these reviews are all about small business.”
Strong says he is disappointed there was not more provision for the National Broadband Network in the budget and says increased income tax and cuts to benefits will impact small business owners.
“We as people, not businesses, suffer the same as everyone else,” he says.
The Australian Retailers Association is also throwing its support behind the budget.
Executive director Russell Zimmerman said budget cuts were needed to get spending under control although he raised concerns over the impact of increased taxes on consumers.
“We are only just beginning to see retail and the services sectors regain momentum after many years in the doldrums,” Zimmerman said in a statement.
“It would be a travesty if these tax increases impacted on that recovery to the sector and the services economy.”
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Kate Carnell described it as “the budget we had to have”.
“The budget provides short-term pain for long-term gain, which attempts to share the burden for repairing Australia’s finances across business and the community,” Carnell said in a statement.
Gavan Ord, CPA Australia business policy adviser, told SmartCompany no one had really expected too much for small business in this budget.
“Small business should be focused on the government’s red tape reform agenda, the tax reform white paper, the competition review and the productivity review of Fair Work,” Ord says.
“Those things will provide the benefit to small business not the theatrics of budget night.”