Businesses make final plea for support ahead of Thursday's State Budget

South Australian Business News  •  Policy
Anthony Caldwell
Monday, June 3rd 2024

South Australian businesses have made a final plea to the Treasurer to present a business-friendly State Budget on Thursday 6 June, by acting on a series of recommendations proposed by the South Australian Business Chamber.

In April, the South Australian Business Chamber announced a comprehensive set of recommendations, highlighting the urgent need for the government to reduce cost burdens on businesses and provide support to drive productivity, entrepreneurship, and growth.

The submission outlined 12 key initiatives to address critical needs within the business community.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kay emphasised that given the absence of business support in the Federal Budget, the upcoming State Budget must include measures to bolster small businesses, including payroll tax reform and increased investment.

Businesses are facing cost pressures that are at generational highs. Increases in energy prices, insurance premiums and wage costs have been higher than most small business owners have experienced in their lifetime,” said Mr Kay. 

Today’s annual wage review will likely see a further rise in wages, pushing some businesses over the payroll tax threshold, which hasn’t changed since the Marshall Government lifted it in 2019.

With the State Government now reporting a surplus fuelled by increased payroll tax, GST and stamp duty receipts, it must act to prevent a rise in business closures in the 2024 – 2025 financial year,” he added.

The business community will continue to do the heavy lifting and strive to boost productivity; however, the government must help create an environment that enables that to happen.

Business has been a major contributor to the State Government’s financial recovery since COVID-19. As we reach the halfway point of its term, the time is right for the Malinauskas government to invest back into business,” he concluded.

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Widen the range at which payroll tax is scaled from 0% to 4.95%.
  5. 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 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.

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

Author

Anthony Caldwell

Manager, Marketing, Media, Communications
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