Victoria’s Budget an opportunity to outline a much-needed economic plan

The national employer organisation Ai Group today urged the Victorian government to unveil a clear plan for the recovery and rebuilding of the State’s economy when it hands down the Budget on 24 November.

Tim Piper, Ai Group’s Victorian Head said: “Our most urgent priority for Victoria right now is to encourage and enable reopening and redevelopment of the economy, with well-targeted measures that complement and reinforce the Federal Government’s stimulus measures.

“The Premier earlier promised ‘the biggest ever’ budget and that will need to be even bigger still given the setbacks from the prolonged Victorian shutdown.

“It is imperative that the Government has a strategy to get the money out quickly through shovel-ready and smaller infrastructure projects, and by encouraging active business involvement by measures that reduce cost burdens and encourage investment and job creation. This includes extending relief for taxes and charges and focussing on workforce skills and innovation,” Mr Piper said.

“Ai Group’s priorities for this year’s Victorian state budget include the following:

Infrastructure

The Victorian Government should accelerate spending on a range of infrastructure projects to help get people back to work and rebuild business activity.

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax remains the biggest concern for businesses operating in Victoria. We recommend that:

  • Payroll tax obligations already deferred in 2020 should not need to be repaid.
  • At the very least, if repayment is required, there should be a graduated phase-in to avoid draining business cash flows.
  • A waiving of payroll tax for the first $10m of payroll for all businesses, for the 2021 calendar year, would be a positive step to boost business cash flow and to facilitate investment and job creation.

Other taxes and charges

We ask that the Government commit to not increasing any state government taxes or charges for the next 3 years.

Skills

Skills development is a major priority for Victorian employers and employees. We believe huge support needs to be provided in order to ensure that sufficient appropriate skills are developed for the future. We recommend:

  • Prioritisation of funding for the development of skills to accelerate digitalisation across the economy
  • Funding also be expanded and extended to include micro-credentials and skill sets
  • Training fee exemption for workers undergoing job transition or career change
  • The State Government forgoes all payroll tax on all apprentice and trainee wages

Start-ups and Innovation

In order to foster start-up businesses and begin to build a solid base for future growth in innovation and jobs, we recommend the state Government consider developing an entrepreneurial sector in Victoria capitalising on our strong university research and availability of capital.

Waste Management

We ask the Government to consider using funds from the existing Sustainability Fund – including the considerable amount currently retained – to support the development of industrial capabilities to help boost recycling and the development of the circular economy.

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