Australian Chamber of Commerce and
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (ACCI) is very supportive of small business measures, believing they
will give small businesses the confidence to grow, invest and hire new staff
and encouraging the parliament to support these measures. In particular, ACCI
mentions the 1.5 percentage point cut to the company tax rate for businesses
with turnover of less than $2 million and the 5 per cent tax discount up to
$1000 for other businesses, the $20,000 instant asset deduction, and efforts to
reduce red tape.
ACCI also supported measures to stimulate
the labour market, including simplifying work experience arrangements, greater
flexibility in wage subsidy payments, wage subsidies for older workers and
changes to employment services. However, ACCI cautioned that these initiatives
need to be carefully structured to most effectively meet the needs of employers
and not lead to employment churn. ACCI also supported $25 million to
assist businesses to take advantage of free trade agreements.
However, ACCI is concerned about the size
of the deficit and urges further spending cuts. It urges the government to work
with other parties to get support for its legislation and urges all parties to
support the Budget.
Australian Conservation Foundation
The Chief Executive Officer of the
Australian Foundation (ACF), Kelly O’Shanassy, says that the Budget chooses big
polluters over the community, highlighting that there is little in this Budget
on climate action and criticising the government for disregarding the need for
a healthy, safe environment.
On fossil fuel subsidies the ACF is
critical of the failure to reform Fuel Tax Credit diesel subsidy and to
address tax concessions claimed by resource companies, stating that changes to
these two measures could have saved $15 billion and reduced pollution by
up to 9 per cent.
Ms O’Shanassy is critical of $1.5 billion
used to pay companies under the emissions reduction fund which will fail to
achieve pollution targets by 2020, as well as $73.2 million in cuts to the
Green Army program which comes on top of almost $500 million of cuts to the
Landcare program. The ACF is also critical of funding cuts to the National
Heritage Trust ($12.3 million over five years), to water buy-backs
($22.7 million over two years from 2017–18) and to government departments
and agencies that help to protect the environment.
The ACF does welcome $100 million in
initiatives aimed at protecting the Great Barrier Reef, but is wary that
funding for Northern Australia could be used to build ports and railways to
allow coal from the Galilee Basin to be transported across the reef.
of Social Service
The Chief Executive Officer of the
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Dr Cassandra Goldie, welcomed a
fairer approach to pension reform and investment in child care, but said the ‘overall
package retains many harsh cuts from last year’s Budget which will leave many
people on the lowest incomes worse off’. ACOSS also criticized the Budget for
failing to stimulate investment in jobs.
ACOSS also stated that people on low
incomes are still doing most of the ‘heavy lifting’ of budget repair, with
unpassed budget measures from last year still part of the Budget, including
cuts to health, education, community services and family and youth payments.
On the families package, Dr Goldie said
that the increased investment in child care is overdue and welcome, but
criticizes it for providing overly generous subsidies for high income earners
and the government’s strategy of relying on cuts to family payments to fund it.
ACOSS also criticizes cuts to Paid Parental Leave, saying they are taking the
country backwards in search for short-term savings.
ACOSS supports changes to the pension and
urges the government to consider changes to superannuation tax breaks for high
income earners as well.
ACOSS is critical of the Budget for failing
to invest enough in jobs and skills, believing the small business measures are
insufficient to stimulate jobs growth. ACOSS is also critical of a failure to
fix the low rate of allowance payments and indexation arrangements, lack of
investment in affordable housing, the loss of funding for vital policy,
advocacy and service delivery across social services, health and legal
assistance especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
ACOSS urges tax reform as the next priority
for the government while preserving the social safety net into the future, in
particular urging reform to generous super tax concessions, negative gearing
and capital gains tax breaks. 
Australian Council of Trade Unions
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) believes the
budget does nothing to create jobs, highlighting that the budget itself
forecasts unemployment to stay above 6 per cent for the next three years. Its strongest
criticism is that the small business tax cut will not promote jobs growth,
saving the average small business no more than $20,000 a year which is not
enough to hire new staff.
The ACTU criticises the government for failing to
produce measures to increase productivity, with cuts to research and innovation
programs. ACTU urges the government to invest in infrastructure, skills and
training and the public services to create jobs and boost the economy.
The ACTU also criticises the government for what it claims
as unfairness in the budget measures: tying childcare assistance to unfair cuts
to family benefits and paid parental leave; cutting almost $1 billion from health; and failing to address superannuation for the wealthy.
The President of the ACTU Ged Kearney states that ‘Australian families will be
worse off under this budget with cuts to paid parental leave and family tax
benefits that are far greater than the government’s investment in childcare’.
Australian Industry Group (Ai Group)
believes the Budget is a good start in providing incentives to invest for small
business and welcomes forecasts for a surplus over the medium-term, but
cautions that there are risks that the Budget may not provide the lift in
business confidence and demand needed to increase investment, productivity, and
growth and to address unemployment. Ai Group is wary that the budget forecasts
worsening unemployment and worries that the GDP forecasts are optimistic.
Innes Willox , Chief Executive of
the Ai Group, welcomes the package of business measures to provide incentives
for small businesses to grow, invest and create jobs. He particularly welcomes
the increase in the immediate tax deduction for capital expenses, but notes that
it is limited to businesses with turnover of less than $2 million. He
urges fundamental tax reform and a cut in the company tax rate for all companies.
Mr Willox also welcomes efforts to
strengthen tax avoidance, but urges that the measure be implemented in
consultation with business to avoid creating business uncertainty. He also supports
extending the GST to online purchases and calls for further broadening of the
GST as part of the upcoming tax reforms. Ai Group also welcomes the changes to
childcare for their potential to improve workforce participation, but cautions
that any changes to paid parental leave must not deter businesses from offering
their own leave schemes.
Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive Business Council of Australia
(BCA), supports the federal Budget ‘as a sound, sensible and thoughtful Budget,
taking pragmatic steps to get fiscal strategy back on track, while investing in
jobs, participation and the capacity of the economy’. The BCA also urges the
Senate to pass the Budget.
The BCA believes the Budget provides a boost to small
business and creates a better environment for business confidence that will
drive investment, job creation and economic growth.
Ms Westacott calls on the government to reset the fiscal strategy
over 10 years to deliver durable budget outcomes and stronger economic growth
underpinned by maintaining Australia’s AAA credit rating, progressively
returning the budget to surplus, ensuring the durability of priority services
including an adequate safety net and ensuring capacity for investments in
infrastructure and human capital.
On the fiscal position, the BCA believes the government has
taken important steps to bring spending under control and invest in the
capacity of the economy. Nonetheless, the BCA believes that achieving the
planned budget surplus in 2023–24 needs a clearer long-term plan.
On the durability of priority services, including an
adequate safety net, the BCA supports better targeting of the aged pension, the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the paid parental leave scheme. The BCA also
urges considering further changes to pensions as part of a review of
Australia’s retirement income system.
On capacity building, the child care package is a sound
approach to encouraging workforce participation. The BCA also supports
additional investment in infrastructure across northern Australia. While the
BCA supports the small business package it cautions about a two-tier company
National Farmers’ Federation
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) supports the budget
for delivering modest gains for the farm sector, welcoming measures on trade,
tax breaks and small business.
NFF President Brent Finlay highlighted support for the
measures that allow farmers to accelerate depreciation for
spending on water, fodder and fencing which will encourage investment and
improve cash flow on farm
$25 million to help producers access the benefits of free trade
agreements (a policy called for by the NFF)
small business tax cuts which will assist more than 110,000 farm
businesses that have less than $2 million in cash receipts and
$83 million in pre-announced drought funding for rural
communities and pest and weed control.
The NFF is awaiting the Agriculture Competitiveness White
Paper and Northern Australia White Paper to measure the Government’s commitment
K Carnell (Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chamber of Commerce
and Industry), Budget
turbocharges small business to grow, invest and hire, media release, 12 May
K O’Shanassy (Chief Executive Officer, Australian Conservation
chooses big polluters over community, media release, 12 May 2015.
C Goldie (Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council of Social
on budget 2015: better direction but lower income earners still doing the heavy
lifting, media release, 12 May 2015.
G Kearney (President, Australian Council of Trade Unions), Budget
fail no jobs, no growth, no opportunity, media release, 12 May 2015.
Innes Willox (Chief Executive, Australia Industry Group) Constrained
budget heading in the right direction-statement by Innes Willox, Chief
Executive, media release, 12 May 2015.
J Westacott (Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia), Statement
on the 2015-2016 federal budget, media release, 12 May 2015.
B Finlay (President, National Farmers’Federation), Budget
lays groundwork for Ag white paper, media release 12 May 2015.
All online articles accessed May 2015.
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