Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad’s first State Budget has a championed a growth narrative with positive announcements around infrastructure and small business, although questions still remain over the state’s longer term borrowings.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is pleased to see the government has looked to balance the need for growth-proof infrastructure in South East Queensland with the delivery of an extensive capital works program across Queensland’s regions.
Nevertheless, the State Government’s determination in announcing a $45 billion capital works package is tempered by an increase in Queensland’s borrowings to $83 billion to fund this spend over the forward estimates.
CCIQ General Manager of Advocacy Kate Whittle said it was clear that this was a ‘something’s got to give’ situation.
Ms Whittle said despite debt soaring to $83 billion, small businesses will be delighted to hear of the targeted initiatives which will bring down business operating costs.
CCIQ, while opposing a waste levy, welcomes the extension of the ecoBiz program administered by CCIQ that targets operational, waste and energy savings initiatives within the small business sector.
“The extension of the ecoBiz program ($4 million over 3 years) provides not only increased funding, but the certainty needed to engage business in an ongoing capacity with this highly successful program,” she said.
Ms Whittle also points to the continuation of the payroll rebate for employers taking on apprentices and trainees, the extension of the successful Back to Work program, and skills and training initiatives for our future workforce announced today as wins for the business community.
“We also advocated very strongly for the introduction of a Business Impact Statement as a regulatory reform project, and we are very pleased to see $1.1 million allocated to assess the impact of government policy and regulation.”
Overall, this budget acknowledged that it is small business that grows Queensland’s economy, and we saw this reflected in the priority given to small business in the budget papers handed down today.