Small business disappointed by NSW budget

- June 18, 2024 3 MIN READ
Daniel Mookhey
NSW treasurer Daniel Mookhey
The centrepiece of the NSW government’s business support in the 2024-25 Budget is the expansion of the Service NSW Business Bureau.

However, the lack of substantial assistance to counter the rising cost of doing business has left business advocates scratching their heads.

To further the reach of the Service NSW Business Bureau initiative, the government has pledged an additional $5 million, bringing its total investment to $30 million for the year.

The Service NSW Business Bureau is dedicated to assisting small businesses navigate regulations, access growth support, secure government contracts, and explore overseas markets.

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey suggested the investment cemented the Government’s commitment to supporting small businesses.

“In this Labor budget, we continue our plans to bust the wages cap, reform tolls, back first-home buyers, build new and better public schools and hospitals, speed up the renewables revolution, rebuild rural and regional roads, help small businesses, and wrangle debt back under control,” he said.

Small businesses initiatives

Service NSW Business Bureau expansion

Funding Increase: An additional $5 million for 2024-25.

Services Offered: Regulatory navigation, growth support, government contract access, overseas market exploration, and red tape reduction.

Impact: Over 100,000 businesses serviced, 20,000+ hours of advice delivered.

Payroll tax relief for GP Clinics:

Bulk-Billing Support Initiative: $188.8 million initiative to waive historical payroll tax liabilities for contractor GPs and provide ongoing tax rebates to clinics meeting bulk-billing thresholds.

This measure aims to reduce financial pressure on GP practices, ultimately benefiting small healthcare businesses.

Digital Future Investments

Cyber Security and ID Support: $205 million to enhance cyber resilience.

Digital Licensing: $62.5 million to streamline 80 NSW qualifications.

Digital ID and Wallet: $21.4 million for easier and more secure identity verification.

Housing and Construction Support

Housing Pattern Book and Design Competition: $11.4 million to standardise building designs and streamline planning approvals, creating more opportunities for small businesses in the construction industry.

NSW Building Commission Funding: $35 million to assure quality builds, benefiting construction-related small businesses.

Supporting community and night-time economy

Night-Time Economy: $54.2 million to revitalise the night-time economy and creative industries, including $26.9 million for the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner and $18.5 million for Sound NSW. These funds will support small businesses in hospitality, arts, and entertainment.

The budget also outlines significant investments in social housing, healthcare, education, and community services, all aimed at building a stronger and more resilient NSW.

Business reactions

CPA Australia’s Gavan Ord highlighted the disappointment among business advocates regarding the limited measures to ease business pressures.

“It’s disappointing that this year’s budget did not include any significant measures to alleviate business costs and ease the regulatory burdens on businesses,” he said.

“While the budget had a strong focus on balancing the books, everyone in New South Wales stands to benefit from a budget where business was more at its centre.”

Ord praised the government’s plan to consult on a performance and wellbeing framework,

“One positive is the government’s move to consult on a performance and wellbeing framework,” he said.

“Such a framework could help improve the measurement of the impact of policy decisions. If implemented effectively, this initiative could lead to policies that better contribute to a healthier business environment.”

GoCardless general manager Luke Fossett said the budget did little to address major areas of small business concern, particularly around cash flow and late payments.

“While there are plenty of great measures in the new NSW budget, it’s largely overlooked the struggles of NSW SMBs that are battling a ‘cost of doing business crisis’, made worse by the increasing risk of late payments to businesses,” he said.

“The budget lacks substantive measures to alleviate mounting cash flow and expense pressures for SMBs, and there’s nothing in there to incentivise customers to support their local businesses.

“Despite these issues, there seems to be a total absence of support measures in the budget to help SMBs be resilient.”

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