Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Business left with Budget ‘crusts’

Neal Wallace
Head of EMA bemoans lack of economic transformation in ‘recovery’ Budget.
‘This is a Budget for recovery rather than growth or the transformation of the economy, which is most needed for business,’ EMA chief executive Brett O’Riley said.
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A business leader says the government’s bread-and-butter Budget spreads the butter thinly across the economy but leaves only the crusts for business.

“This is a Budget for recovery rather than growth or the transformation of the economy, which is most needed for business,” EMA chief executive Brett O’Riley said.

He said he had been hoping for a Budget that would fund initiatives to stimulate investment that enables innovation and productivity, such as accelerated depreciation for hardware and software.

The EMA is pleased with the immediate and multi-year approach to fixing and funding new infrastructure to connect key areas of the country.

O’Riley is keen to see detailed plans of those priorities.

“While it’s heartening to hear the government is now not expecting the shallow recession indicated by previous forecasts, this seems to rely on government spending to drive economic growth and reduce inflation,” he said.

Additional investment in skills and training is also welcomed, particularly the extension of the Apprenticeship Boost, but he warned that this does not address critical skills shortages quickly enough.

Further solutions still must be sought.

“We didn’t expect much and we didn’t get much.

“There must be an integrated but also more immediate approach to deliver the pipeline of skilled people we need now and into the future,” O’Riley said.

“It’s appropriate that there is more support for core services and our communities, but business is what makes the economy go around.”

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