Glass half full budget: business


The federal budget has received qualified support from the Victorian business community.

Responding to the 2024-25 budget handed down by federal treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) welcomed initiatives to stimulate business growth, but said there were missed opportunities in the areas of tax reform, a fiscal strategy to address future debt and a plan for regional Australia.

The VCCI said 17 of its 19 recommendations had either been partially or fully committed to in the budget, including: $22.7bn Future Made in Australia Package to facilitate private sector investment; $1 billion to the states and territories to boost housing supply in well-located areas; $1.5bn for manufacturing of clean energy technologies; energy bill relief of $325 for one million small businesses and $290m to extend the instant asset write-off for another year.

Upgrades to regional airports, mental health support for small business owners, free TAFE and VET places and apprenticeships for the clean energy sector were among other initiatives the chamber approved of.

“This is a glass half full budget for business, with enough in there to sow seeds of confidence for Victoria’s business community especially the instant asset write off extension, energy rebates and small business support,” said VCCI chief executive Paul Guerra.

“This federal budget presents promising opportunities for our business community to work with the Victorian Government to secure some of the budgeted initiatives for Victoria, including those relating to AUKUS, defence contracts, clean energy, minerals exploration and housing supply.

As the largest connector of apprentices and trainees to employers in Victoria, we welcome the Strategic Review of the Australian Apprenticeship Incentive System and will continue to advocate for payments to remain at their current levels.”

However, Mr Guerra said the level of spending and lack of reform in the budget was a concern.

“While this modest budget surplus sends the right signal, the Victorian Chamber is concerned about the future forecast debt trajectory and would have liked to see plans for bolder tax and regulatory reform.”