Victoria’s budget sends the wrong message

23 May 2023

Victoria’s budget will make it even harder for Victorians to get ahead as businesses are penalised with higher taxes just when they are needed to do the hard work of economic growth, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This budget makes it clear that the state government is willing to charge companies more to do business in Victoria, at a time where we need to be accelerating investment in order to drive faster wages growth, protect jobs and grow the economy.

“It is very disappointing that the companies that did the heavy lifting during COVID by keeping supplies coming into households and keeping people employed are now being penalised.

“As was clear from this years’ federal budget – business already is doing the hard work of budget repair across the nation: creating jobs, delivering world class exports and increased revenue for governments and keeping food on the table for Victorian families.

“The private sector employs 3.2 million Victorians, almost nine in 10 workers. These are the same employers who kept workers on their books during lockdowns, kept services running and paid their teams when they couldn’t work.

“Victoria is already the highest taxing state in the country and the new COVID Debt Levy announced today means it will be even harder to invest in the state, let alone create new jobs or grow the economy.

“It was a payroll tax hike on business that funded additional mental health services announced in the 2021-22 state budget after the devastating impacts of prolonged state lockdowns.

“Now it is business that will foot the bill for helping to pay down the government’s $31.5 billion COVID-19 debt.

“The best way to pay down debt and fund critical services is through fiscal discipline, quality spending and measures that drive economic activity and attract job-creating investment – this budget sends the opposite message.

 “Business welcomes the government’s initiatives around skills and manufacturing, red tape reduction and the abolition of business insurance duties.

“But a growing economy is what pays the social dividend needed to invest in the services people need and position Australia for the future.

“And today’s budget sends the wrong message for any business looking to invest in Victoria.

“At some point, governments across Australia have got to come to terms with the fact with that companies have choices around where they invest and locate their operations.

“And increasingly, states like Victoria are making those investment choices very difficult.

“The only people who will suffer from that are the workers of Victoria.”                


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