Reports this afternoon the Federal Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package will be worth between $15-$20 billion could be the shot in the arm that consumers and business need right now.
Sky News has reported that $500 cash payments for pensioners, people on Newstart and small business owners, as well as tax incentives for SMEs, will be part of tomorrow’s stimulus package.
ACCI CEO James Pearson said: “ACCI has called for changes to tax incentives to encourage investment by small and medium business – we’re glad to hear this afternoon’s report as it sounds like the strong stimulatory measure our economy needs in this time of crisis.
“With many businesses and communities still recovering from bushfires and our nation confronting coronavirus, the Government needs to limit the economic damage while supporting productivity and the economy longer term.
“As an initial response to COVID-19, the economy needs temporary, well-targeted measures to stimulate new spending quickly so that businesses don’t have to cut back production or lay off workers due to weak demand.
“Cash injections to small businesses and tax incentives for small and medium-sized businesses will help keep people in jobs, particularly casual jobs.
“We encourage the Government to extend the package to include bringing forward personal tax cuts and tax cuts for small, medium and family businesses already in the forward estimates.”
Mr Pearson said tourism, travel, hospitality and retail businesses already struggling from the bushfires were some of the first impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and needed support.
“Alongside the earlier announcement today of extra grant assistance, the proposed cash injections to small business and tax incentives to SMEs will help businesses survive. Tourism is a major source of employment in this country, and every effort is needed to maintain jobs.
“We also welcome reports of a reduction in export costs. We would like to see measures to minimise costs on the import side, too, something ACCI has been working with the Government on for some time.
“The impact of the coronavirus on supply from China has reminded us how much business and the community depend on a competitively priced and reliable supply of imports.
“Reducing costs on exports would be a great start. Making it easier to import would be the equivalent of giving all Australians a pay rise.” Mr Pearson said.
Mr Pearson said it was critical to alter behaviours in terms of trade, education and tourism, along with consumer and investor confidence.
“The announcements will assist to deal with the crisis as it currently stands, and the Government also needs to have an eye on what is required to build on the recovery, when it comes. At some stage soon, we have to be ready to grasp the nettle of significant regulatory, tax, and industrial relations reforms to encourage greater productivity and create the framework for the next decades of growth.”