This year’s budget is a curious one for small business.
While the small business sector has mostly escaped Treasurer Wayne Swan’s cuts unscathed, there has been no new support or any new spending initiatives. SMEs may tend to feel they are no worse or better off than when they came in.
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However, that may not be true.
While SMEs haven’t received any specific support – apart from a welcomed boost of funds for companies aiming to win government contracts – changes in a wide range of industries will affect small and medium-sized businesses.
The 2013-14 budget has brought a number of significant changes to a variety of industries.
We’ve piled all the changes into a sector-by-sector guide – how will your industry fare?
The health sector is set to receive some of the biggest slices of the new funding pie.
The government has pledged a total of $226 million for new cancer treatments, with $55 million devoted to breast cancer screening, $18.5 million for prostate cancer and $23.8 million for bone-marrow transplants.
Of course, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is the biggest spending bonus here. A total of $14.3 billion will be used for the scheme, which will no doubt flow through the health and care industries over time.
In terms of winners and losers, the health sector has mostly come out of this year on top.
Alongside the health sector, education is also set to receive some significant spending boosts.
The Gonski reforms worth $9.8 billion will see funding provided to schools on a needs-basis, which will inevitably provide some opportunities for business in local projects.
Higher education has also received $97 million to increase the number of Commonwealth-supported places, and $186 million in new research spending.
Businesses in a variety of industries will no doubt be happy to see more funds being directed towards education.
Construction and engineering
The government’s $24 billion dedicated to new projects in various states is the biggest benefit for the construction and engineering industries.
The new projects include public rail projects in Brisbane and Melbourne, along with a new link between the F3 and M2 roads, and an upgrade of the M4 in Sydney.
Infrastructure projects are a massive win for SMEs and these projects will no doubt provide more work for years to come.
The information technology sector has received some small investments, mostly to do with upgrades among government departments.
The Telepresence scheme, which allows videoconferencing, has been given an extra $19.3 million in order to help the government save money.
A new data centre will be built for the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, with $16 million dedicated there. The Australian Research Council will receive $14.2 million to build a new IT infrastructure.
There will also be $30 million for the National Border Targeting Centre, and another $7.8 million for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for the new National Business Names scheme.
With the National Broadband Network taking up most of the attention when it comes to telecommunications, there hasn’t been much in the way for new telco spending.
However, there has been $12.9 million budgeted for local councils to help integrate with the NBN, and another $7.2 million for small businesses and non-profits to connect to the NBN.
There was actually quite a bit of support for farmers in last night’s budget. There has been $100 million set aside for a farm household allowance support to give to farmers in hardship.
With all the government’s superannuation changes, financial advisors will no doubt be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of all the new they’re about to receive.
The government has amended concessions for higher income earners, changed the excess contribution tax system, encouraged the take-up of deferred lifetime annuities and has introduced tax exemptions for earnings on assets supporting retirement income streams.
These changes are complicated and super account holders won’t be able to navigate them on their own.
Despite fears the government would scrap some of the clean technology funding initiatives, the manufacturing industry has still received some funding.
The $160 million to be used within the Clean Technology Investment Fund has been brought forward, which should bring some joy to manufacturers working in clean tech.
The government didn’t make any announcements regarding retail, although some may have hoped for a change to the way GST is collected on imports.
In fact, this year’s budget is set to be a challenge for retailers. With the Medicare Levy rising 0.5% to 2%, and the deferral of the carbon tax-funded tax cuts, the retail sector may be at risk of feeling the brunt of a hit to consumer confidence.
The resources industry has been hit with a major change. The government has removed a deduction available for businesses which acquired exploration companies.
Companies will only be able to use this deduction now if they engage in actual exploration activity.
Tourism and Transport
The tourism industry has received no new funding. This morning, a spokesperson for the Tourism and Transport Forum told SmartCompany this was a disappointing move.
However, the government’s infrastructure spending initiatives are set to benefit the transport industries. More money has been designated for rail projects in Melbourne and Brisbane, alongside several major road projects.