Tuesday, 10 June 2014

ACT Budget 2014-15: Investing in Canberra

On 3 June 2014, ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr handed down the 2014-15 ACT Budget, a budget about investing in Canberra to maintain growth in our economy and support local jobs.

This includes $2.5 billion investment over four years in a capital program - the largest ever by an ACT Government – which will help progress transformational projects such as Capital Metro, Australia Forum, City to the Lake and new court facilities. It also includes investment in the tourism and events, education, health and community sectors.

The ACT Government recognises local businesses as the lifeblood of the economy and it is hoped these investments will deliver the transformative infrastructure needed to support businesses for the long term. As part of the budget there is also a range of new and continuing initiatives aimed specifically at helping businesses to grow and create jobs.

This includes the acceleration of payroll tax reform which will see the threshold rise from $1.75 million to $1.85 million in 2014-15. For businesses with a payroll of $2 million this will mean a saving of $6,850 per year.

Combined with the 2012 payroll tax cuts, this means Canberra businesses, on average, are each paying $25,000 less payroll tax annually than before the reforms.

In his Budget speech, Minister Barr said “Businesses in Canberra continue to benefit from our tax reform agenda. Stamp duty continues to come down and insurance taxes will be fully abolished in 2016.”

The ACT Government recognises the burden government regulation imposes on business and so this Budget brings red tape reduction to the fore, with specific actions right across government.

During 2014-15, the ACT Government will set up a new forum to give business a direct voice in regulatory reform prioritisation.

Businesses will also be able to interact with government easier, with funding commencing for the digital project, iConnect. When fully developed, iConnect will give access to many government services and payment transactions through a single sign on.

As part of its commitment to making Canberra a digital city, the ACT Government will also introduce electronic tendering which will modernise the process for businesses seeking to work with the Government and reduce the administrative burden on small business.

The 2014-15 ACT Budget also provides continuing support for Canberra’s entrepreneurs.

To help those affected by Commonwealth Government job cuts stay in Canberra and build a new future, a specially tailored program will be implemented to provide them with support to start their own business.

Young entrepreneurs will also benefit from the budget through the new Young Business Connect program. The $300,000 program will provide assistance to young entrepreneurs, helping them to develop their ideas and establish new local businesses. This will include business planning and market development advice, connections to specialist advisors and business mentors and assistance in attracting start up funding.

The recently announced CBR Innovation Network, which will provide a more joined up approach to the delivery business services and advice, will have an important role to play in shaping the delivery arrangements for these new programs.

ACT businesses are the heart of our economy and community and this package of measures aims to invest in our city and our economy in partnership with the business community.

View the full ACT Budget 2014-15 External Link - opens in new window.

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