Budget: many modest wins to develop ag sector, small businesses

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered a modest, mostly positive Budget for the Australian agricultural sector in last night’s Federal Budget, with small businesses set to reap the rewards, according to WAFarmers President Tony York.

Key agricultural highlights include a tax cut for small business, an increase in the unincorporated small business tax discount, $15.9 million over four years to build an advanced analytics capability to support biosecurity and a new National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.

“For the most part, we are happy with the modest gains for the agricultural sector delivered in the 2016 Federal Budget,” Mr York said.

“Agricultural competitiveness, infrastructure and transport, tax, public finance and small business, and water and natural resource management were all addressed.

“Small businesses in particular are set to reap the rewards – a 2.5 per cent reduction off company tax rates (from 30 per cent to 27.5 per cent) from 1 July this year for companies with an annual turnover of less than $10 million is quite significant.

“Additionally, the increase of the unincorporated small business tax discount from five to eight per cent from 1 July 2016 for small businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million, plus the streamlining of GST reporting for businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million will present greater opportunities for growth.

“We also warmly welcome the Federal Government’s injection of $15.9 million over four years to develop an advance analytics capability aimed at better targeting biosecurity efforts, which will safeguard our valuable agricultural resources against threat.”

Mr York said the 2015-2016 Federal Budget saw gains for the agricultural sector with the announcement of the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, and that this year’s gains would build on those.

Though largely pleased with the results, Mr York acknowledged there was a glaring hole in the Budget.

“The Budget did not include any changes to the proposed increase in tax payable by backpackers, despite fierce campaigning from key industry stakeholders, including WAFarmers,” Mr York explained.

“By neglecting to apply recommendations from industry to the proposed backpacker tax, we believe the government has seriously jeopardised the future of the Australian agricultural sector, among others. 

“It is definitely a failure on their part.”

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].

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