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5 ways the Federal Budget matters for small businesses

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

The Australian Government has announced its October 2022–23 Federal Budget. With a focus on ‘building a better future’, the Budget’s key themes include cost of living relief; responsible spending; and creating a stronger, more resilient modern economy. Areas of investment include connectivity, workforce, security, sustainability and mental health and wellbeing.

Tradie leans on a ute and checks emails on tablet.

Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) rated the Budget 7 out of 10 for small businesses. COSBOA CEO Alexi Boyd said, “This budget delivers benefits for small business owners and sole traders in four key areas, namely: improved internet connectivity, small business mental health support, cost of living improvements to childcare support, and VET and skills planning.”

Here are some of the key points in the Budget for small businesses.

Investing in NBN and mobile connectivity

The Government’s announced a $2.4 million investment in NBN Co that will extend fibre access to 1.5 million more premises, which may be welcome news to businesses using solutions that rely on internet connectivity. Business-grade fibre can offer a reliable, fast network performance for your website, payments solutions, collaboration tools or cloud solutions such as accounting software.

Increased fibre availability may be particularly relevant to you if your business uses critical applications; needs to access real-time data; or wants a smooth experience for online collaboration, calls and video.

Telstra offers a range of business grade fibre solutions today.

Workforce participation and skills development

The Budget includes measures intended to address challenges in the labour market. They focus on supporting workforce participation and developing the skills Australia needs in its future workforce.

Supporting workforce participation of parents and older Australians

To support women’s workforce participation and help advance gender equality, the Government announced $4.7 billion to be invested over four years to deliver cheaper childcare for 1.26 million families. An additional boost to the Work Bonus Income Bank has been designed to give older Australians the option to work and keep more of their pension. And an expansion of the permanent migration program is also expected to help address skills shortages.

Developing the skills Australia’s future workforce needs

The TAFE sector will receive a $50 million TAFE Technology Fund to TAFEs across Australia. To further support skills building, the Government is delivering 480,000 fee-free TAFE and community-based vocational education places over four years.

CPA Australia’s Business Technology Survey 2022 revealed that one in three Australian businesses consider the skills shortage to be a major barrier to their digital transformation. Investing in creating digital skills today is key to reaping the benefits offered by digital solutions in the future. You can achieve this by building skills directly within your team and also by accessing specialist outsourced services to help.

Helping protect Australians from online scams

Another key area of investment is in combatting scams and online fraud. According to the Government, scams are costing Australians over $2 billion a year. That’s why it’s committed to an initial investment of $12.6 million over four years to help protect Australians from online scams. This includes establishing a National Anti-Scam Centre and increasing funding for identity recovery services that support victims of identity theft and recover stolen credentials.

Highlights

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), 43% of Australian cyber crime is directed at small businesses, at an average cost of $9,000 per incident. Together with COSBOA and partners, Telstra recently announced a new CyberWardens pilot program designed specifically for small businesses. The initiative is Australia’s first cyber safety workplace certification (or microcredential), and it encourages small businesses to take a proactive approach to upskilling in this area.

Funding to help improve energy efficiency

Energy efficiency of small and medium-sized businesses was also an area in the spotlight. With energy prices expected to continue to rise, the Government is committing $62.6 million to support small and medium-sized businesses in improving their energy efficiency and reducing energy use. The aim is for these grants to support small and medium-sized businesses in investing in cost-saving, energy-efficient upgrades to help reduce power bills.

Technology can potentially play a role in helping businesses manage operations more efficiently. Telstra’s Internet of Things (IoT) solutions allow businesses to monitor and control devices, machinery and equipment. By using your assets more efficiently, IoT can help lower your business's overall costs and provide a better experience for your customers.

Support for business owners’ mental health and wellbeing

Recognising the impact Covid-19 and recent natural disasters have had on many Australian business owners, the Government is providing $15.1 million in key areas of support. This will be used to extend the tailored small business mental health and financial counselling programs, NewAccess for Small Business Owners and the Small Business Debt Helpline.

Telstra is offering disaster assistance for flood-affected customers.

With these investments targeted to help in key areas, this Budget creates the opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to consider strategies in upskilling, protecting themselves and increasing their resilience to prepare for the future. Explore the 2022–23 Federal Budget to understand how it matters for your business.

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