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The 2023 Budget: A Big Boost for Small Businesses

Published May 22, 2023 (last updated on July 3, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer

2023 budget blocks

The 2023 Budget offers a big boost for Australian small businesses – from energy bill rebates and an instant asset write-off scheme, to a $392 million fund for startups trying to commercialise innovative ideas.  

If you run an Australian SME, this 2023 Budget snapshot will clarify the financial support your business might receive on the back of the Albanese Government’s latest plans. 

Energy bill relief 

As many as one million small businesses will receive energy bill relief, with $1.5 billion set aside for $325 rebates over the next two years.  

In jurisdictions where Canberra’s investment is matched by local funds, small businesses will be able to lower their overheads through combined rebates of $650. 

Energy efficiency incentive  

Small and medium-sized businesses that invest in energy-efficient systems, including next-generation refrigeration, lithium-sulfur batteries, or thermal energy storage, will be eligible for bonus tax deductions. 

Expenditure for the incentive is capped at $100,000, meaning the 20% bonus will offer businesses up to $20,000 in tax deductions. 

Instant asset write-off  

Small and medium-sized businesses have been tentatively waiting to find out if last year’s generous instant write-off scheme would be renewed in the 2023 Budget. Without it, many investment plans would have been put on ice.  

Thankfully, the Federal Government will launch a refreshed instant asset write-off scheme for purchases up to $20,000. This will apply to any upgrades installed or first used in the 2023–24 financial year. 

Reduced tax admin 

As the saying goes – time is money. The 2023 Budget vows to give small business owners more time to build their enterprises rather than submitting endless tax documents.

Accountants and tax agents will be empowered to file multiple Single Touch Payroll forms for business owners from mid-2024, rather than submitting them monthly. 

Additionally, small businesses will be allowed up to four years to amend their income tax returns from July 2025. As well as investing in the improvement of its systems, the ATO has also vowed to minimise the issue of cheques, leading to simpler, faster tax refunds. 

Cash flow protection for small businesses

To shield small businesses operating on thin margins, the 2023 Budget has introduced new policies for how pay-as-you-go instalments are calculated.  

The GST instalment and GDP adjustment factor will be reduced to 6%, which is half of the previous rate set at 12%. Approximately 2.1 million small businesses in Australia stand to benefit from the reduced installment rates. 

Industry Growth Program 

One of the most attention-grabbing figures contained in the 2023 Budget is the $392 million dedicated to launching the Industry Growth Program. The program will offer strategic advice and financial grants, helping small businesses and startups commercialise their ideas. 

However, grants will not be available to all SMEs. Eligible businesses will need to focus on the National Reconstruction Fund’s priority areas: 

  • Renewables and low emissions technologies 

  • Medical science 

  • Transport 

  • Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 

  • Defence capabilities 

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Increased apprenticeship support 

$54.3 million over five years will introduce “a new non-financial support model” for Australian apprentices, advancing on previous initiatives that enticed apprentices and encouraged employers through direct financial backing.  

The 2023 Budget pledges to “redesign and refocus key support services to increase apprenticeship completion rates and the diversity of the apprentice workforce.” Small businesses and startups needing to build a skilled workforce are likely to reap the benefits. 

Cyber Wardens Program 

$23.4 million will be invested in the Cyber Wardens Program – a digital resiliency and cybersecurity initiative launched by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia.  

The COSBOA will receive Government funding and provide Australia’s SMEs with the nation’s first accredited micro cybersecurity credential. The program will help to protect small businesses going digital from rising cyber threats.  

Government contract access 

Australia’s small businesses are often locked out of lucrative Government contracts, with critics claiming application processes are too complex and geared towards bigger competitors.  

The ambitiously named ‘Buy Australia Plan’ will improve SME access to the biggest state-funded contracts. $18.1 million over four years will help SMEs compete for tenders and spread wider awareness of Federal Government contracts. 

The 2023 Budget benefits by industry 

Here is a breakdown of the benefits the 2023 Budget offers to the industries that many Peninsula clients operate in: 

Industry  Benefits 
Construction  ✔Funding to establish a National Construction Industry Forum (NCIF). 
✔$687 million over six years for a national approach to sustainable urban development. 
✔$3.4 billion to build venues and infrastructure for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
✔$1.8 billion over ten years for the construction of infrastructure priorities to support productivity and jobs.  
Retail and Hospitality  ✔An increased cap on the number of hours international student visa holders can work – rising from 40 to 48 hours per fortnight.  
Child and Aged Care  ✔A $1.6 billion investment in the Early Childhood Education and Care Industry pledges more funding for professional development and training.  

Scale your business with Peninsula 

Are you looking for a helping hand with scaling your business? Peninsula has worked with thousands of business owners across Australia, supporting them every step of the way with workplace relations and health & safety. 

We understand the troubles you face as a business owner. Our 24/7 Advice Line is available to answer all your questions and concerns – call 1300 651 415 today. 

This article is intended to offer general information only and should not be taken as financial advice. Before making changes to your business, be sure to seek professional financial advice.

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