South Australian Business News

Business priorities in the upcoming State Budget

Anthony Caldwell
Tuesday, April 16th 2024

The South Australian Business Chamber has announced a comprehensive set of recommendations for the upcoming state budget, highlighting the critical need for the government to reduce the cost imposts being faced by businesses and provide support to help drive productivity and encourage entrepreneurship and business growth. 

The submission made to Treasurer Stephen Mullighan in March outlines 12 suggestions to address urgent requirements within the business community.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kay emphasised the Chamber’s primary focus this year is advocating for a reform of payroll tax to better serve the state and encourage investment in small businesses. 

Last year, we advocated for modest initiatives within the financial constraints of the state government as it recovered from the impacts of COVID-19 and the Murray River Floods,” he said. 

With the state government now reporting a surplus fed by increased payroll tax and stamp duty receipts, it is timely for us to advocate for more significant reform that can provide the platform and confidence for businesses to invest in people and innovate to grow and prosper,” Mr Kay added.

This is not a simple request for handouts. The business community will continue to do the heavy lifting and strive to boost productivity; however, we need to create an environment that enables that to happen. These initiatives — particularly around payroll tax – will not only help remove the handbrake on growth and investment but also assist the government in building the skilled workforce we desperately need to deliver on future projects in South Australia.”

The recommendations presented to the government are grouped under two major priorities:

Reform payroll tax to make it work for the state:

  • 1. Lift the payroll tax threshold from $1.5m to $2.1m, making it the most competitive in the country.
  • 2. Introduce a discount of 50% to businesses operating in regional South Australia to compete with those across the border in Victoria paying a substantially lower amount.
  • 3. Introduce an exemption on wages paid to apprentices, trainees, and new graduates to encourage employers to take on unskilled workers amidst a growing skills crisis.
  • 4. Boost employment through targeted payroll tax discounts, waiving the tax on underrepresented workers, long-term unemployed individuals, post-correctional individuals, and those undergoing re-skilling to enhance workforce accessibility.
  • 5. Widen the range at which payroll tax is scaled from 0% to 4.95%.
  • 6. Relax grouping restrictions for small businesses in their first 12 months. 

Investing in South Australian small businesses

  • 1. Fund and double the existing $650 energy rebate provided to businesses to assist with rising energy costs.
  • 2. Support small businesses with a series of micro-grants to enable businesses to assess their ESG credentials and meet their compliance requirements as we move to Net Zero.
  • 3. Commit to funding and securing the future of the South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Scheme. 
  • 4. Design and implement a compensation scheme for businesses impacted by the ban on engineered stone.
  • 5. Introduce education programs for businesses to manage their workplace obligations following recent changes to the Work Health and Safety Act.
  • 6. One-off grants of $500 to help small businesses purchase defibrillators to comply with new legislation stating automated external defibrillators must be installed in all buildings (with an area of ≥600 m²) used for commercial purposes from 1 January 2026.

While the government finds itself in a stronger financial position, businesses continue to grapple with rising costs, skills shortages, and a slowing economy,” Mr Kay added. 

The business community has been a major contributor to the state’s financial recovery and as we reach the halfway point of their term, the time is right for this government to invest back into business,” he concluded.

For further details on each recommendation, the full submission can be downloaded here.

Author

Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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