Federal Government’s budget boost to small businesses

The 2018-19 Federal Budget will aim to improve the business operating environment for small businesses in the café, restaurant and catering sector with an extension of the Government’s instant asset write off program to 30 June, 2019.

The extension will enable small businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million to immediately deduct eligible assets, each costing less than $20,000.

The Federal Budget has also provided clarity on the ability of businesses to access refunds as part of the Skilling Australians Fund when sponsoring overseas workers. Businesses will be able to access refunds if sponsored visa-holders do not commence employment, are refused on health or character grounds, or depart their employer within the first 12 months.

Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Juliana Payne says the Federal Government’s budget measures are designed to encourage businesses to grow across high-priority sectors, such as hospitality.

“With over 92 per cent of businesses in the café, restaurant and catering sector, small businesses with 19 employees or less, it is critical that the Federal Government pursues policies which enable these businesses not just to succeed but to thrive,” Juliana says.

With the commencement date of the Skilling Australians Fund now confirmed, Juliana says it’s critical that projects supporting high-growth industries such as the café, restaurant and catering sector, are prioritised and delivered across each of the states and territories.

“The chronic skills shortages across key hospitality occupations such as chef, cook and café and restaurant manager continue to threaten the viability of café and restaurant businesses across the nation. Ensuring a healthy pipeline of locally-trained apprentices and trainees is critical for their ongoing success,” she says.

The Government will also welcome measures such as reducing the costs of accepting debit card payments and incentivising businesses to adopt non-cash forms of payments, recommended as part of the Black Economy Taskforce’s Final Report.