Palaszczuk government backs small business in budget
The Palaszczuk government has announced several investments worth billions of dollars combined, to support the growth of the state’s small business community.
As part of the state's budget, the government has announced investments worth billions to further the small business community, including a $100 million Business Investment Fund, $30 million to increase small business skills and capability, and $10 million to make it easier to do business with government.
Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said backing small business was a central part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan.
“The Palaszczuk government knows small businesses are the lifeblood of communities right [throughout] Queensland and employ nearly 1 million people: you can’t talk about jobs and recovery if you’re not talking about small business,” Ms Farmer said.
“It’s not just about the tailored and targeted support – as vital as that is – but also about creating the right environment for small businesses to thrive in."
According to the minister, that means making sure things like housing availability and transport options aren’t limiting opportunities for small businesses to grow.
“Business owners have told us that a lack of housing availability in regional areas is one of the challenges when it comes to attracting workers. That’s why we’re investing $1.8 billion over four years to increase the supply of social housing and upgrade existing social housing across the state, supported by the establishment of a long term $1 billion Housing Investment Fund," Ms Farmer said.
Moreover, the Palaszczuk government’s $27.5 billion transport and roads budget is backing Queensland businesses, too.
“The record four-year infrastructure spend will drive the state’s economic recovery and provide investment certainty," Ms Farmer said.
“A strong pipeline of government projects will reward innovation and incentivise contractors to provide quality local jobs, more training, better workplace safety, and prioritise local suppliers and manufacturers.”
Direct and tailored support
Ms Farmer said when it came to more direct and tailored support, the Palaszczuk government had big plans for small business.
“Over the weekend we launched our new Small Business Strategy, which outlines how $140 million of support for small business will be spent and announced a Workforce Summit that will take place later this year," she said.
“The Big Plans for Small Business Strategy is a direct result of speaking with thousands of businesses across the state during our Small Business Roadshow earlier this year."
The strategy includes a $100 million Business Investment Fund, $30 million to increase small business skills and capability, and $10 million to make it easier to do business with government, including making the Queensland Small Business Commissioner role permanent.
Furthermore, the Back to Work initiative has been extended with $140 million over four years for targeted employer payments to help businesses recruit and retain young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with a disability or the long-term unemployed.
“We’re also investing $31.2 million to extend the 50 per cent payroll tax rebate for apprentice and trainees to June 2022," Ms Farmer said.
The Palaszczuk government also recently launched the Small Business Disaster Hub website and app, and the first phase of Business Launchpad, as well as committing to paying small businesses as quickly as possible, to give them the cash flow and confidence needed to grow.
“We supported small businesses during the worst of COVID, and we’re not stopping now," Ms Farmer said.
Other programs that will benefit small businesses include:
- $29.4 million over four years ($9.1 million in 2021-22) for the Electricity Tariff Adjustment Scheme, targeting support towards regional business electricity connections due to phasing out of obsolete electricity tariffs;
- $7 million to extend live music venue support to support the sustainability of Queensland’s live music industry;
- $71 million to support the Queensland screen industry, including $53 million to continue the Screen Queensland Production Attraction Strategy, $10 million for the Post, Digital and Visual Effects incentive, $4 million for the Screen Finance Program, and $4 million for a North Queensland Regional Program;
- Up to $12 million over three years for the Mobile Black Spot Program, to improve coverage for businesses and communities across the state;
- $20.6 million over five years ($5.3 million in 2021-22) for Rural Economic Development and Rural Agricultural Development Grants;
- $1.9 million to continue the Tourism Business Financial Counselling Service which was launched in March this year; and
- $1.6 million in grants to small and medium-sized businesses to reach new markets or use e-commerce platforms.