Hobart 26 May 2016

‘Today’s Tasmanian budget gives modest recognition for the small business sector and its value to the long term sustainability of our economy’, said Robert Mallett, Executive Officer of the TSBC.

‘The plan to achieve a surplus, grow infrastructure, save where possible and provide incentives for investment are all provided for in this year’s budget.’

‘The Treasurer is to be commended for the additional funds to support small businesses and Group Training Organisations to support small business with apprenticeships and traineeships.’

‘Australia is currently experiencing an unprecedented decline in employers taking on apprentices and trainees and with very few initiatives announced by the Commonwealth to address this it sadly falls to the State to provide much needed support to grow our skills base for the future.’

‘The states recent energy challenge has led to an innovative energy initiative whereby small businesses can access a new “Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme”.’

‘This scheme, which will facilitate up to $10 million of no interest loans, will allow small business people to focus their mind on energy efficiency measures which will save them money immediately and assist them in better understanding the range of new energy tariffs about to be released in Tasmania.’

‘Exciting news is that there will be an additional $400,000 over two years for an improved state wide small business assistance program specifically to enable targeted business development but details are sketchy at the moment,’ said Mr Mallett.

‘The ongoing investment in infrastructure, schools and tourism will all support the broader small business sector but it will all be for nought if we can’t encourage young people to recognise the value of learning a trade and employers to see a brighter future and employ them. Details of how the new funding of $900,000 over the next two years to support growth industries and give young Tasmanians opportunities to develop technical and work ready skills again lack detail but the TSBC stands ready to support the Treasurer’s initiative.’

‘In broad terms it seems the 2016 -17 Budget will be good for Tasmania. It is hard to argue with an early estimated surplus of $77.3 million, additional infrastructure spending, support for the engine room of the economy – the small business sector and overall initiatives which provide confidence in many of Tasmania’s wealth generating sector.