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Release Date: 4/05/2016

The Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) has said the 2016-17 Federal Budget is overwhelmingly a win for business, particularly for the small and medium enterprises driving economic growth in the Illawarra.

 “This Budget contains some welcome relief for business in the Illawarra,” IBC Chief Executive Debra Murphy said.

‘Like the rest of Australia, the Illawarra is an overwhelmingly small and medium business economy, with more than 98% of the 29,000 businesses in our region employing fewer than 20 people.

“Small business drives our economic growth.

“That’s why we’ve been asking for some time to extend the company tax threshold for small businesses, and we’re pleased the Government has responded with very clear support for the small business sector.

 “From 1 July, the company tax rate will reduce to 27.5%, but more importantly, the turnover threshold moves from an annual figure $2 million to $10 million.

“Australia is primarily a small and medium business economy but it has taken time for that to be recognised by our political decision makers.

“The Government knows that sustainable job growth is going to be driven by the small business sector, and a company tax rate cut provides small business owners the opportunity to employ those extra few staff members or take on an apprentice.
“This will be particularly welcome in regions like the Illawarra where there might be fewer opportunities for business owners to make changes to their business operations.

 “These decisions re-enforce the success of the national Chamber movement’s 2013 Too Big to Ignore campaign, where the small busines sector declared political leadership of all persuasions had taken them for granted.

“I think it fair to claim that on the strength of the last two Federal Budgets, that message was heard loudly and clearly by the Federal Government, and they responded with practical measures that support small business expansion and sustainability.

“The IBC also applauds a firm commitment to solving the youth unemployment crisis and welcomes the three tiered approach of Prepare, Trial and Hire.

“For too long, youth unemployment has been tinkered with around the edges but no one has really been prepared to single it out as an issue that needs specific attention nor understand that it’s going to take time to get right.

“There’s no overnight solution.

“The Turnbull Government understands reducing youth unemployment is a two way street  – not only do young job seekers need tangible support, but business owners require incentives to take on young and often inexperienced staff members.

“The three staged approach involves preparing young job seekers to enter the workforce, an internship programme enabling those job seekers to gain real work experience and at the same time receive additional funding from the Government with businesses receiving an upfront payment of $1000, while the final stage sees further bonuses eligible for businesses who ultimately hire these new staff.

“This could be the circuit breaker that business and community groups have wanted.

 “Parents and students in the Illawarra will also benefit from the decision to link schools funding with reforms to improve teacher quality and student outcomes.

“This is an advocacy success for the Chamber movement, as a key reform is the introduction of minimum literacy and numeracy standards for students completing high school.  This proposal was put forward by the Chamber in the 2015 Paving the Pathway Report, and we’re pleased it’s been taken up.

“On the other hand, we’re disappointed this Budget doesn’t include investment in the transport links that would boost the economic potential of major regional satellites and take the pressure off the capital cities.

“Once again – most of the infrastructure dollars will go to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

 “We’ve heard about the Government’s plans for ‘30 minute cities’ – what about a 60 minute commute for Wollongong?

“We hope this is a priority for both major parties in the forthcoming election, when seats in both the regions and the cities will be in play.

“The Illawarra has outstanding potential as a base for business and workers alike, and it’s about time this potential is fully realised.

“Over the coming weeks, we will continue highlighting the concerns of business in the Illawarra so our region receives its fair share in the coming election,” Ms Murphy concluded.

The Illawarra Business Chamber is a regional division of NSW Business Chamber, the state’s peak business group. 

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