Small to Medium companies in Tasmania will be pleased with a lowering of the company tax rate by 1.5% to 28.5% in last night’s budget. The Chamber is also pleased that most of the Tasmanian pre-election commitments for infrastructure funding have also been met in the budget. However, there are other flow-on effects to the whole community that will impact on business.

Maree Tetlow, Executive officer at the Launceston Chamber of Commerce commented that “the budget was definitely tough as promised – but it is hard to argue that we need to tighten our belts more to ensure future generations don’t inherit a growing debt burden.” She said the company tax break for small to medium businesses is a positive, along with the list of infrastructure projects confirmed for our region, and the Major Projects Approval Agency being located in Launceston.” However, the negative impacts on higher health costs and cutback on benefits on the high proportion of unemployed, pensioners, and other welfare recipients will flow through to business.

Ms Tetlow said “the high number of families on benefits, the young unemployed, and other welfare recipients in Northern Tasmania will mean there is less money to spend locally, and this will affect business - as well as place a lot of pressure on our community to support the disadvantaged.” Ms Tetlow also commented “it is a Chamber priority to encourage more young people stay at school, do skills training, or higher education so they are more employable. However, we are worried that the increased costs of university courses and the pressure on Tasmanian State Government to deliver more of the health and education budget shortfalls will mean this will be harder to achieve.”

Ms Tetlow concluded with “we are hoping that the Federal Budget builds business confidence, delivers on growing the economy in the short term, and business can step up and offer more jobs in our community.”