Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his first budget on Tuesday, 25 October 2022, and leading online small business lender OnDeck says some valuable initiatives will support small businesses navigate the year ahead.
“With Treasury predicting economic growth at 1.5% next year, we welcome any investments that will boost productivity and participation through skills, education, childcare and expanding Paid Parental Leave,” said Cameron Poolman, CEO OnDeck Australia.
“It’s also pleasing this Budget provides incentives that will help more women into the workforce.”
The government is investing $531.6 million over four years from 2022–23 to expand the Paid Parental Leave scheme and provide more significant support to families. In 2026, families can access up to 26 weeks of Paid Parental Leave.
From July 2023, Child Care Subsidy rates will increase up to 90% for eligible families earning less than $530,000. Families will continue to receive existing higher subsidy rates of up to 95% for any additional children in care aged five and under.
According to Federal Small Business Minister Julie Collins, “The significant cost of early childhood education and care can prevent parents, particularly women, from working as much as they want1.
“It is estimated these reforms will increase the hours worked by women with young children by up to 1.4 million hours per week in 2023–24. This is equivalent to an extra 37,000 full-time workers.”
More skills to address worker shortages
Together with the states and territories, the Federal Government has pledged a $1 billion investment in 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education places in 2023 and, ultimately, 500,000 places to support priority areas with skills shortages such as the care sectors and the digital economy.
There will also be $485 million available to create 20,000 new university places over the next two years for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Cameron Poolman said, “We strongly support the government’s comprehensive skills package and September announcement that will see the number of permanent migration visas available in 2022-23 jump from 160,000 to 195,000 places2.
“These measures in combination mean there might be some light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses impacted by labour shortages while also promoting skills necessary for growth industries and growing wages.”
Small business incentives
The government will deliver more than $15 million to support Australian small businesses and help them prosper. The Albanese Government’s plan for small business includes3:
- Providing $15.1 million for small business owners across Australia to access free mental health and financial counselling, including $10.9 million in support for the NewAccess for Small Business Owners Program and $4 million for the Small Business Debt Helpline.
- Providing an energy savings grant program for small and medium-sized businesses, to reduce energy use and lower energy bills.
- Outlawing unfair contract terms and making it easier for small and medium-size businesses to access Government procurement contracts.
The NewAccess for Small Business Owners program is a free, confidential one-on-one mental health coaching program delivered by Beyond Blue. It provides small business owners up to six structured sessions via telehealth with a trained mental health coach. Coaches have a small business background, allowing them to understand better the challenges small business owners may face. No GP referral or mental health treatment plan is required.
Cameron Poolman is supportive of this idea. “We need more encouragement for small businesses now,” he said.
“Many small businesses are returning to form after the challenges of the last few years, with our loan originations up almost 50% compared to the previous year.
“However, many businesses still need extra support. Their local bank manager is not there anymore, and they’re also using cloud accounting software such as Xero and MYOB, so they’re generally not seeing the accountant as much.
“While the details remain unclear, The NewAccess for Small Business Owners Program is a step in the right direction as it enables small businesses to seek professional advice.”
More information about the NewAccess for Small Business Owners program is available by calling 1300 945 301 or on the Beyond Blue website. Small business owners can contact the Small Business Debt Helpline by calling 1800 413 828 or via the Small Business Debt Helpline website.
Get in touch today to find out about funding options to help finance your business planning which may be available to you.
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