Mar 30

“Politics will always influence budgetary decisions, particularly when announcements are made so close to a federal election,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“Last night we saw another high spending budget with no reference to budget savings — whether by addressing waste and duplication across our three tiers of government or longer term structural reform.

“Debt continues to grow, expecting to tip $1 trillion in just two years, however the deficit is currently on target to be $20 billion lower thanks to strong economic recovery and prices holding up for commodity exports such as iron ore, coal and agriculture products. But a balanced budget is still not expected this decade. 

“Queensland — and more specifically the Sunshine Coast — fared relatively well with the biggest coup being the $1.6 billion funding allocation to the Beerwah to Maroochydore rail extension, linking Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast’s emerging CBD in Maroochydore.  To my knowledge this may be the largest allocation of funding for a transport infrastructure project in Queensland, possibly even Australia.  So this is a very big win indeed and the SCBC welcomes it.

“In order for us to capitalise on this significant investment in our region, the Sunshine Coast Business Council now calls on Sunshine Coast Council to support this rail project and immediately seek matched funding from the Queensland state government. The Premier stated as part of the recent SEQ City Deal announcements, that we work best when we work together — so we now call on her to show the required leadership to bring this project to fruition.

“This is no time to let funding announcements get caught up in small-minded politics or confused with Sunshine Coast mass transit strategies. If we are to be ready for the 2032 Olympic Games, this project will need to commence within a few years.

“Last night’s budget was focused broadly on the economy and creating jobs, defence and national security, families and the cost of living — with a further $8 billion allocated to cost of living and tax offsets.

“Of course, we will all benefit from the halving of the petrol excise that will see prices reduce over the coming weeks, and there are a range of tax offsets and one-off payments to help mitigate the escalating cost of living.

“Small business will benefit from the extension of the instant asset write-off for another year and there are new incentives to upskill employees. Business owners can claim a 20% tax deduction when investing in external training courses for their staff until 30 June 2024 and can deduct a further 20% for expenses that encourage digital take-up in businesses such as websites, cloud computing, online sales platforms or portable payment devices.

This aligns well with the Sunshine Coast’s focus over the past two years on encouraging digital transformation across and within industries to modernise our businesses, increase efficiency and create jobs for the future. It is also pleasing to see that there are targeted initiatives and incentives to support more apprenticeships, particularly given the expected growth in our region over the next decade.

“The priority for any government is to drive jobs growth, thereby reducing unemployment. At a 4% unemployment rate, we are heading towards the lowest rate in about 50 years of 3.75% — so that must be acknowledged, particularly given what was expected back in 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“People are in work which is the primary reason the budget bottom line has improved by more than $100 billion on what was previously projected — more people are working and paying taxes and fewer are on welfare. 

“Treasury has projected the strongest growth in wages for over a decade — we can only wait and see if that eventuates but if so, Australia is certainly in a stronger position than most.”

// Ends.

The Sunshine Coast Business Council is the leading regional business advocacy group on the Sunshine Coast. It represents approximately 4,000 businesses through its membership, which includes key national and regional industry groups and their members as well as national and regional businesses.

For more information please visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.

Media contact  :  Maya Gurry, Fresh PR & Marketing
P: 0410 109 102     E: maya@freshprm.com.au

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