South Australian Budget mixed bag for businesses

South Australian businesses have received pockets of support in the face of anaemic economic growth in a State Budget dominated by health, housing and cost of living, the Australian Industry Group Head – South Australia, Jodie van Deventer, said today.

"Last year's Budget was about COVID recovery and driving economic complexity while this year's largely lacks the imagination needed as the State's businesses struggle with skill shortages, rising input costs, interest rate rises and inflation," Ms van Deventer said.

"While energy bill rebates of up to $650 for 89,000 small businesses are welcome, it is a Band-Aid measure, given that an Energy Consumers Australia report released today shows that South Australian businesses are paying more for power than anywhere else in the country."

Ms van Deventer said the Budget's focus on housing was a positive for businesses, particularly in regional areas where prospective employees often struggled to find suitable accommodation.

"Support for flood-impacted businesses which includes recovery grants and tax relief is also welcome, along with new trade offices in Washington DC in the US and Frankfurt in Germany," she said.

"However, targets set for investment into South Australia by Invest SA, along with trade targets, are lower than outcomes achieved in 2022/23.

"An extra $20 million in an Economic Recovery Fund won't happen until 2026/27 and $6.5 million for a Small Business Strategy and $20 million for a Research and Innovation Fund will be stretched over four years.

"The focus on skills, as well as defence and space, is welcome, and the Government's commitment to no new taxes and no tax increases is also welcomed by the business community.

"In a tight fiscal environment, it is essential this Government ensures its policies and programs encourage productivity, business competitiveness and growth, which are key to our State's success, creating economic prosperity for all.

"Today's Budget only goes part of the way to addressing this," Ms van Deventer said.

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