Canberra Business Chamber has commended the ACT government’s focus on business in the 2016–17 budget and believes the private sector can play a larger role in getting the ACT back in the black.
Chamber chief executive officer Robyn Hendry said the increase in the payroll tax threshold from $1.85 million to $2 million was good for all businesses, especially small business.
“This will exempt 40 businesses and reduce costs for many others,” she said. “Combined with plans to abolish commercial stamp duty for transactions under $1.5 million and insurance taxes, this will reduce businesses’ tax bill.”
But she warned returning to surplus on schedule would be a challenge for the government, based on the expenditure and revenue trends in the budget.
“It seems that either spending will need to be maintained at its current level, which is difficult as costs go up, or we need to find better ways to do things.
“The government is looking for ways to make service delivery more efficient – for example it is focused on digital efficiency.
“The chamber believes there are further efficiencies that could be gained by outsourcing service delivery functions to the private sector where it can be demonstrated this would be more cost-effective.”
The chamber welcomed the ongoing funding of the Light Rail Business Link Program, which Hendry said would help maximise opportunities for local business from the light rail project.
“We are very pleased the government is willing to work with the private sector to keep light rail investment in our region. The Light Rail Business Link Program assists by acting as a conduit between local businesses and the consortium that will build and operate light rail in the ACT.”
Several initiatives sought by the Canberra Business Chamber in its budget submission have been funded, Hendry said.
“With international flights and the accompanying air freight opportunities only a few months away, we need to focus on facilitating entry into the export fray and removing the barriers to export growth.
“Road connections and other infrastructure investment will be vital. Funding for upgrading Pialligo Avenue is a strategic investment and we look forward to our neighbours investing in this corridor.”