The WA Government has listened to the State’s business sector, which asked for no new taxes, industry diversification and a plan to restore the AAA credit rating.
CCI Director of Policy Dale Leggett says in terms of tax announcements, the Government had rightly chosen not to introduce any new imposts on a business community that is already struggling with cost challenges.
The payroll tax-free threshold has been increased from $800,000 to $850,000 from 1 July – a decision that should benefit around 11,000 businesses.
“This was something the Government had pledged in the 2013-14 budget and they’ve stayed the course,” Leggett says.
“This budget appears to send the message to business that the Government is listening, at least in terms of not making things any more challenging than they have been in recent years.
“Importantly, through CCI, business asked for greater industry diversification – mechanisms and avenues to stimulate the economy in areas with unrealised potential that go beyond the industries we relied upon during the resources boom.”
As recommended by CCI, ongoing review of public sector expenditure will continue through tranche three of the Agency Expenditure Review process. “The Government appears committed to cutting slack and improving efficiency, through a targeted reform process” Leggett says. “This is important as it will have fewer impacts on the key services that the community expects the government to deliver while ultimately delivering savings and value for money outcomes.”
- Much called-for red tape reduction for business. $600,000 will be spent from 2016-17 to 2018-19 to identify and implement reforms that reduce regulatory barriers and remove red tape in priority areas of the economy. This is in addition to the $1.1 million allocated to the Department of Finance for the same purpose.
- While making no adjustments in this budget due to economic constraints, the Government acknowledged that land tax had become a significant issues for business – as CCI has pointed out – and will address this in future. “The business community must be vigilant in not letting them forget this pledge,” Dale Leggett says.
- A commitment to building the ‘Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture’ – a $350 million initiative to drive development and export opportunities.
- $30 million between 2017-20 for the ‘Exploration Incentive Scheme’. “This gives our miners support and inventive to find that next discovery,” Leggett says. “It’s been successful in the past and it’s important this continues.”