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MODEST BUSINESS ASSISTANCE IN A HOUSING FOCUSED BUDGET

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Politics | 0 comments

Small and medium businesses (SMEs) will be offered modest and targeted assistance in the NSW State Budget, as the NSW Government focuses on housing and fiscal repair.  

Business NSW Regional Director for the New England North West Diane Gray, says ‘the cut in NSW’s share of the GST is heavily impacting this budget, which means everyone from the government to the household will be tightening belts”.

The continuation of the $325 energy rebate for small businesses and the focus on housing delivery is welcomed.

However, the decision to freeze land tax indexation will mean even more commercial land holders will be captured in this wider tax net, passing on costs to businesses.

Ms Gray said, “Adding more cost for business will be the freezing land tax indexation which is effectively a $1.5 billion tax increase on businesses and landlords over the four years to 2027-28.”

“It is encouraging to see the progress on the housing front and recognise this has been a focus for the Minn’s Government. It is incredibly important that accelerated housing delivery is a bipartisan policy that transcends electoral cycles. For the sake of future generations, we can’t afford delays due to party politics.”

“The Transport Orientated Development Program ($520m), funding ($270m) to speed up the planning system and providing essential worker housing ($655m) will be genuine game changers when it comes to getting workers housing closer to where they work and play.

Taxation is up 8.6% over the 2024-25 financial year which has more than outpaced inflation two years in a row.

The budget deficit is forecast to shrink from a revised $9.7 billion for 2023-24 to $3.6 billion for 2024-25. However, without a surplus in the coming years, net debt is forecast to increase from $96.8b (11.9% of Gross State Product) in 2023-24 to $139.5b (14.2% of GSP) in 2027-28.

“Overall, it is sensible that the NSW Government has resisted the temptation to ramp up spending. Although not surprising, it would have been great to see investment back into the inland rail at Narrabri and Moree,” Ms Gray said.

Key measures for business:

  • A $1.5b tax increase on businesses and landlords via the NSW Government refusing to index land tax above the current $1.075 million tax-free threshold. This is despite inflation running at about 4%.   
  • A further $5m (on top of the current $25m) for the NSW Business Bureau, which offers personalised business support and guidance.
  • Extension of the Energy Bill Relief Fund for the 2024-25 year, being $325 for eligible small businesses.
  • A $2.08m for hospital upgrades for Moree, Gunnedah and Glen Innes. 
  • 3 new public preschools, $4.2m for school upgrades and 653 education staff made permanent.
  • A$92.5m for continued upgrades for Newell Highway. $55.5m for the New England Highway Duplication in Tamworth.
  • A$13.4 for place-based initiatives to support young people, improve community safety and reduce crime in Moree
  • A$224.8 million to support Moree becoming a thriving business hub, with sustainable water endowments and new technologies to support diversifying its strong agricultural economy.  Grants to enhance community wellbeing and boost local economies, including:
  • $80,000 towards an adaptive bike trail in the North West
  • $80,000 to expand community transport services in Liverpool Plains
  • Casual teachers at TAFE NSW will be converted into full-time staff, costing $83.1m over four years.
  • Fee-free training for apprentices and trainees to continue ($16.3m).
  • Fee-free training for new apprentices and trainees will continue, at a cost of $16.3m.

A $11.4m for the housing pattern book design platform; $650m for essential worker housing; $253.7m to fund state planning improvements including the state’s planning portal.

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