The Albanese government’s first ever budget announcement hasn’t lived up to the expectations of small business owners across Australia.
Small businesses have had it tough over the past few years and they had been hoping for a budget that understands their needs and supports them. ‘Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy’ quoted the Coalition at a point in time, yet this sentiment was absent from Treasurer Jim Chalmer’s speech on Tuesday night.
Some positive steps included an increase in immigration intake, phased increase to paid parental leave and, $20 billion to re-wire the nation for change to renewables and funding for small business on mental health support. However, this felt like a letdown and an indicator of where the small business community sits on the list of priorities for the Labor government. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also said that the government could not afford a budget filled with business support measures as it will likely intensify inflation.
Employers have been concerned about the obvious lack of available talent, a result of Australia’s long border closures and low employment rate. Industries are in desperate need of bold reforms and policies to bring back the workers lost over the past two years.
According to Julie Collins, Minister for Small Business, this is a sector that contributes approximately $430 billion to the Australian economy each year. However, in all the talk of resilience, this sector has been and continues to be grossly overlooked and ignored. Small business owners are exhausted. They are struggling to keep their doors open midst the increased minimum wages and the very real threat of a recession coupled with one of the most complex workplace regulations in the world. All they can do now is hope the next federal budget makes the journey easier for them.