The Victorian Chamber’s Budget Submission to the State Government is centered on three themes:
- A plan to protect and grow local businesses and jobs
- Strategies to reclaim our global reputation
- Investment in infrastructure to keep the state moving.
The Victorian Chamber has advocated for a strong jobs plan with a focus on established and emerging industries that will be fundamental to ensuring a strong Victorian recovery in the short and long term. We have already seen the early stages of the job plans from Government with record investment in social housing and tourism infrastructure.
However, this alone is not enough, there also needs to be a focus on emerging industries and start-ups. The Chamber has been strong in advocating for this, while also recognising that this should not solely be in the domain of metropolitan Victoria, which is why we would like to see the Government significantly invest in decreasing the digital divide between rural and metro Victoria. The digital economy is here now across all industries and Victoria needs to be in a position to take advantage.
Given the hit that our economy has taken Government spending on infrastructure will be key to helping re-start our economy. While the Government should ensure that it spends more on its Big Build, one simple focus should be to make sure that there is significant spending on maintenance of infrastructure. This will help small and medium sized businesses recover, which will only strengthen the economic recovery.
We have also advocated for a significant increase in apprenticeships and traineeships, so that youth unemployment is not only addressed, but apprentices and trainees end up with lifelong bankable skills.
Melbourne has an envious lifestyle and culture and the Government needs to make sure that they help the ‘live’ economy, which will see our creative industries return to work, providing flow-on impacts to hospitality and events.
If COVID-19 has shown us one thing, it is the importance of digital health, which is why now is the time for the Government to invest in hospital in the home and telehealth, as recommended by the Chamber’s Health Taskforce.
The above recommendations are based on the Chamber’s broad engagement with members through a series of sector specific roundtables to get a deep understanding of their experience in navigating the roadmap for recovery and what further action the State Government needs to take to support business recovery into 2021 and beyond.
That feedback helped inform more than 50 specific recommendations including increasing the payroll tax threshold and reducing the payroll tax rate, waiving payroll tax liabilities, grants to help offset costs for businesses to become COVID Safe, tourism infrastructure, upgrades and marketing, fast-tracking the return of international students, big and small infrastructure projects, buy local initiatives, incentives to hire apprentices and trainees and growing exports and the industries of the future.
From what we’ve seen in the pre-budget drops so far, the Government is listening to what Victorian business wants and needs to lead a jobs-based post COVID-19 recovery and we are optimistic about what will be included on Tuesday.
To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:
“Action to support our three, interconnected themes will be key to arresting the economic fallout caused by COVID-19, complement current efforts to re-open businesses, restart the economy and secure longer-term, sustainable prosperity.
“This Budget should have one strong focus: jobs. Stimulating and incentivising job creation and growth is what will have the biggest impact on getting Victoria back its status as Australia’s economic powerhouse. It is essential that the Victorian Government priorities skilled jobs that will see an increase in apprenticeships and traineeships.
“The Victorian Chamber wants to see our state once again be the best place in the country to run a business and we are looking to the State Budget to help provide those conditions. That means slashing business taxes and expenses, helping businesses to create more jobs, particularly for our young people and building on our strong foundations in fields such as construction, manufacturing, tourism, bio-tech and health-tech and international education.”