• “We want small businesses to prosper”: Josh Frydenberg delivers the 2019 federal budget.
    “We want small businesses to prosper”: Josh Frydenberg delivers the 2019 federal budget.

The 2019 federal budget is full of largesse for small to medium enterprises, including expansion of the instant asset write-off scheme and a $525 million skills package.

Delivering his budget speech to Parliament yesterday, treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that instant asset write-offs will increase from $25,000 to $30,000, and be available to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million. He hailed small businesses as “the engine room of the economy”, and integral to local communities.

“People running a small business put their livelihoods on the line. They start early and finish late. They manage the front desk and the back office. They pay their workers first and take their own wages last.

“We want small businesses to prosper, and we are backing them to do so. Cutting their taxes to 25 per cent. Increasing their access to finance with a new $2bn fund. Ensuring small business is paid on time, both by government and big business,” he said.

Frydenberg also pledged $525 million to skills development, saying Australia’s greatest asset is its people.

“We need to ensure all Australians of all ages have the skills they need for the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow,” he said. “We will create 80,000 new apprenticeships in industries with skills shortages. We will double incentive payments to employers to $8000 per placement. And these new apprentices – including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers – will also receive a $2000 incentive payment.”

Andrew Macaulay, CEO of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA), which also represents the packaging industry, has described the budget as great news for small business, particularly the skills training package.

“We’ve been lobbying consistently at a federal and state level about the skills shortage. We’ve invested a lot of time from staff and members on that, including the president and vice-president – it has been a specific objective for the president, Walter Kuhn.

“It was a breath of fresh air to hear the treasurer announce the training package last night. SMEs are crying out for apprenticeship training, and the addition of the $2000 bonus for the apprentice themselves, as well as the $6000-plus offset for the employer, will be a real boon for small business,” he said.

Macaulay also gave the thumbs-up to measures such as the instant asset write-off expansion.

“The instant asset write-off increase, and more importantly making it repeatable, is fantastic news. Increasing the threshold will allow a substantial portion of the industry to access it. It’s a real benefit,” he said.

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