The 2014-15 ACT Budget recognises the important role that local businesses will play in the Territory economy over the coming 12 months.
The Budget has been framed by substantial Commonwealth cuts and the ACT Government has had to respond to the impacts on our economy and on our own finances. Unlike other regions in Australia that received significant support packages to help ease the blow of job losses, no such package has been forthcoming for Canberra. That’s why the ACT Budget invests in our economy, invests in business and invests in jobs.
Significant shocks to regions
Direct budget and staffing cuts to Commonwealth government departments, and the consolidation of agencies, will hurt not only individuals and households but also the Territory economy. However, the investment pipeline appears to have stabilised encouraged by the ACT Government’s tax reforms and stimulus measures.
Despite the uncertainty from the Commonwealth, Canberra has a confident and innovative business sector that is up to the challenge of taking up the slack and growing our economy.
The budget included a number of initiatives aimed at helping Canberra’s business sector grow and create jobs. This includes:
• Local businesses will benefit from an acceleration of payroll tax reform. The threshold rises from $1.75 million to $1.85 million in 2014-15; the 6.85 per cent rate remains. Businesses with a payroll of $2 million will save $6,850 per year, and about 39 businesses will no longer pay this tax.
• A flat rate of stamp duty continues, at the new lower level of 5.25 percent for properties valued at over $1.455 million, resulting in significant savings on commercial sector properties. For example, for a property valued at $5million, the additional saving in 2014-15 is $12,500 with a total saving of $56,750 since taxation reform commenced.
• $2.8 million over four years to help the CBR Innovation Network assist new, existing and start-up businesses.
• $800,000 will help promote Canberra both interstate and internationally, continue development and roll-out of the CBR brand and forge partnerships with local Canberra businesses.
• Funding of $300,000 will help young people develop ideas for establishing local businesses and will include planning and market development advice and assistance in attracting capital investment.
• $150,000 will extend and target advisory services to small local businesses and a further $150,000 will provide advisory services and support to assist public sector employees to transition to the private sector and assist them to create new local businesses. The 2014-15 Budget contains a $2.5 billion investment in infrastructure over four years – a record capital works spend by an ACT Government.
Net debt to gross state product ratio
The budget delivers funding for transformational projects like the University of Canberra Public Hospital, Capital Metro light rail, Australia Forum, City to the Lake and a new court precinct; a host of projects in the tens of millions of dollars, such as the Coombs school and the ACT Government office block in Gungahlin; and a wide array of smaller infrastructure and maintenance projects right across Canberra.
In this budget the Government has made the choice to support our economy. Over the coming 12 months I look forward to working closely with Canberra businesses to build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous Canberra
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)