The right budget at the right time

“This is the right budget at the right time,’’ Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This budget is about getting Australians back to work and getting businesses back on track. Decision by decision, step by step we are investing in the future and rebuilding the economy.

“The budget goes a long way to restoring hope and giving us confidence that we can come back stronger and better than before as we combat an unprecedented global downturn.

“By shifting from emergency support to targeted spending, the budget will help employers get back to business and get on with urgently creating the new jobs needed for the recovery.

Business investment equals job creation

“We welcome tonight’s huge injection to increase business investment which we have constantly argued is the foundation for the recovery and ongoing job creation.

“We agree this is a game changer and will help us avoid a freefall in business investment.

“This investment incentive will create new purchase orders and jobs by encouraging businesses to immediately expand, innovate, update technology and buy new plant and equipment.

“We strongly support its application to small, medium and large businesses and its broad base.

“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.

Support for personal income tax cuts

“We also welcome tonight’s decision to bring forward and backdate stage two of the legislated personal income tax cuts.

“These tax cuts are real dollars for Australians.

“They will release demand across the economy which will accelerate job creation, including in the hardest hit sectors of the economy such as hospitality, retail and tourism.

“The changes improve the incentives to work but also retain the progressive nature of the system so that top earners continue to pay the most tax. 

Wage subsidies and support for workers

“This budget continues the important process of rebuilding the skills system with 100,000 extra apprentices and an additional 50,000 short courses which will help people retrain and reskill faster.

“We also welcome the government’s commitment to wage subsidies, particularly targeting young Australians who are at the highest risk of unemployment and helping them into the workforce.

A budget for people

“Budgets are not about numbers on a spreadsheet, they are about people and choices.

“Almost one million Australians are out of work, many don’t have the hours they need and businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

“This budget makes the right choices, recognising that we cannot repeat past mistakes and allow a generation to be lost to a recession.

“The support the government has already put in place throughout the pandemic including JobKeeper, which has kept people connected to their workplaces, and the Coronavirus Supplement has helped to protect lives and livelihoods.

Positioning for the future

“The government has also tonight thrown its balance sheet at creating jobs and generating the infrastructure we need for growth.

“This budget recognises that business will do the heavy lifting in the recovery and will be responsible for creating the majority of new jobs, driving the sustainable growth that will allow us to pay down debt in the future.

“It focuses on growth, not taxing our way out of trouble. A one per cent increase in economic growth would deliver around $5 billion of tax revenue each year.

“Fiscal support is aimed at accelerating the recovery, which will help stabilise future debt levels.

“All of these measures, on top of the recent announcements and efforts to firm up our economic foundations, add up to a budget that will get Australians back to work and businesses back on track.

“We need to stay the course on reopening the economy at all levels of government to support the incredible effort that this budget is making in rebuilding for the future.

“We cannot solve all of Australia’s problems in one budget. This budget makes important inroads into tackling our most pressing challenges and prioritises job creation as the key to the recovery.

“This budget turns the corner from support to recovery and growth. It rightly puts the incentives back with the private sector to reopen, grow and employ more people.’’