Federal Budget 2020: WA business leaders give Federal Budget the tick of approval

The West Australian,
WA’s business community is in agreement that the Federal Budget is right for the times.
WA’s business community is in agreement that the Federal Budget is right for the times. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE, MICK TSIKAS

The business community is in agreement that the Federal Budget is right for the times.

In what Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described as the “largest set of investment incentives” ever offered, the Budget unveiled measures to allow businesses to write-off the full value of any assets they buy and claw back tax already paid against losses.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the measures will create new purchase orders and jobs by encouraging businesses to immediately expand, innovate and update technology and buy new plant and equipment.

“The Government’s loss-carry back initiative is another vital step in improving business confidence by supporting cash flow. At the end of the day, this is about keeping people working and giving businesses the cash flow to hire more people,” she said.

Under the loss carry-back provision, losses incurred to June 2022 can be offset against prior profits made in or after the 2018-19 financial year. The measure, available for businesses with a turnover of less than $5 billion, was flagged as a key instalment of the Budget by the Australian Industry Group.

AiGroup chief executive Innes Willox said the initiative would “provide a critical boost to investment, productivity and job creation”.

“Without this measure the anticipated fall in non-mining business investment of 14.5 per cent in 2020-21 would be much greater and the measure is a significant factor in the anticipated rise of 7.5 per cent in non-mining business investment in the 2021-22 year,” she said.

Australian Construction Association chief executive Jon Davies said the Budget helped span the communication gap between government and industry.

“Construction productivity growth over the last 30 years lags growth in other sectors by almost 25 per cent,” Mr Davies said.

He said through increased collaboration, projects could be de-risked which would in turn lead to job creation.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns will also benefit from Budget incentives that will provide the necessary tools for growth and expansion, WA Australian Hotels Association chief executive Bradley Woods said.

“The Budget includes targeted measures which incentivise the purchase of equipment that facilitate growth and efficiency,” Mr Woods said. “Importantly, there are significant initiatives announced tonight that will encourage business owners to hire more staff, particularly younger workers, who play a critical role in the hospitality workforce.”

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the $4.26 million Budget commitment to roll out mental health programs for small business owners.

“Mental health is proving to be the next big challenge to emerge from the COVID crisis and it is particularly impacting the small business community,” Ms Carnell said.

She said the support was crucial as there had never been a tougher time to be in business.