Treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed his office is “doing the numbers” to revise the federal government’s G20 growth plan, as many of the policy measures included in the original plan have either been dropped or remain stalled in parliament.
Hockey will next month report on Australia’s progress in implementing its plan at a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Turkey in September.
At the G20 Summit in Brisbane in November last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott unveiled his government’s plan to contribute to a target to collectively grow the global economy by 2.1% by 2018, as did all other G20 member countries.
Australia’s plan included several policies that the Coalition have since abandoned, including its paid parental leave scheme, as well as several policies that have been stalled in the parliament, including cuts to unemployment and family benefits and higher education reforms.
Other policies, including a pledge to cut the company tax rate by 1.5% have been modified. The government has cut the corporate tax rate to 28.5% for small businesses with annual turnover of under $2 million.
However, Hockey told The Australian the growth plan “was always a moving document” and there are several policies contained in the May budget that can be added to the plan.
“We’ve lost the paid parental leave but we’ve got a new childcare package,” Hockey said.
“The free-trade agreement with China was going to be added to our list, as is the small business package. There’s a bit of give and take.”
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, welcomed the inclusion of the government’s small business package in the plan, telling SmartCompany the 2.1% growth goal remains a “sensible target”.
Strong says growth should be encouraged in all aspects of the Australian economy and it will be small business that delivers this goal.
“The budget focused on small business and if there is more confidence in the sector, that is nearly always reflected in some level of growth in the economy,” Strong says.