Queensland budget boosts SMEs

| June 13, 2018

The Palaszczuk Government has set out its plans to support the development of Queensland’s SMEs over the next 12 months in its annual budget.

The state’s Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said the Queensland Budget provided grants to assist businesses to start and grow, funding to help them train and employ, and continued efforts to streamline regulation and reduce the cost of doing business.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the important role small businesses play in their communities and in creating jobs,” Minister Fentiman said.

“This Budget includes an extra $40 million for the Business Development Fund for two years, an extension of the 50 per cent payroll tax rebate to June 2019 for apprentices and trainees at a cost of $26 million, $20.5 million to continue the Back to Work South East Queensland program in areas facing significant labour market challenges, with applications open until 30 June 2020, and a further $20 million for the Business Energy Savers program.

“Doubling the investment pool of the Business Development Fund will support more ideas to become commercial realities while fostering angel and venture capital investors to support Queenslanders with plans that can deliver high-value returns.

“The grants and initiatives available through the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy 2016-20 have proven an effective way to support entrepreneurs and businesses to identify opportunities to establish or grow their operations.

“The Queensland Government’s Advancing Women in Business initiative and Advancing Indigenous Business program are encouraging more women, Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples to thrive in their businesses and communities.

“The Go Local campaign will continue with more than $600,000 in 2018-19, highlighting the value of supporting businesses with other Queensland Government programs.

“This government is making a difference, with 90 per cent of small businesses accessing a program reporting that after a year they had a 10 per cent increase in either employment, turnover or profitability.

“The percentage of new or existing businesses reporting increased capability, including in the digital space, because they took part in one of our small business grant programs is also sitting at 99.8 per cent.

“The Palaszczuk Government is also working to make it easier for small business to do business with government, undertaking consultation on ways to better support small business to participate in government procurement.

“To that end, we have issued the Queensland Small Business Procurement Commitment consultation paper.  Through the Better Regulation Taskforce, chaired by Queensland’s Small Business Champion Ms Maree Adshead, work is already underway to reduce red tape and make it easier to do business in Queensland.

“More than $1 million for four years has been allocated to start the Business Impact Statement Project to assess the impact of government policy and regulation.

“Hand in hand with efforts to help small businesses start, grow and employ in Queensland, the government is working to prepare the job-ready applicants employers need in their workforce, through our Back to Work programs and the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

“In addition, the $40 million Made in Queensland Grant program will assist manufacturing businesses to become more competitive internationally.

“The Jobs and Regional Growth Fund encourages the agricultural resources, tourism, manufacturing and construction sectors to develop plans and projects that will grow their operations.

“The Queensland Government has established funds to support the ideas and innovation that will allow our businesses to respond to new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities from the digital economy or other future factors.

“Reducing energy costs will be an ongoing concern and delivering the $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan announced in 2017 is a priority.

“This includes a partnership with Energy Queensland and the Queensland Farmers Federation to highlight ways to better manage on-farm energy use and an extra $3.9 million for the ecoBiz program, which works with small businesses to reduce utility costs and is delivered in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.”