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The Group of 100 supports the Government’s drive to deliver a balanced and prudent budget that has Australia living within our means.

We are supportive of the much increased commitment to infrastructure investment, which not only benefits the economy but eases transportation burdens in many of our most congested cities.

We are also supportive of the retention of the NDIS and ongoing supportive for those in our community that are most vulnerable as well as the enhanced focused on welfare cheats.

We are very supportive of the Government’s continued focus on stopping tax cheats and eliminating the informal economy.  This initiative alone could yield much needed budget repair through minimising GST and payroll tax remittance avoidance, ensuring employers contribute to superannuation for their staff.

We also support the enhanced funding for schools but are disappointed with the scaling down of investment in our universities, which is counter to what an innovative economy needs.

However, there are elements of the budget we feel are counter-productive or which are not optimally structured.

We do not support the announced bank tax.  History has shown that adding imposts onto one sector of the economy that may be enjoying a period of success rarely works.  As with the failed mining tax, these initiatives rarely work and almost never deliver the windfall the Government expects.  Disappointingly, this new tax was announced with no consultation.

We are disappointed that there isn’t any real commitment through the budget to the Government’s innovation agenda.  We fully support continuing to build the ecosystem to support the retention or promotion of both research and development in Australia but this budget does little in that space.

We also do not feel the budget does enough on housing affordability.  Providing enhanced opportunities for salary sacrificing for first home buyers is a good initiative, and better than allowing them to remove funds from superannuation.  However, we continue to believe that providing a framework that enables Australians to invest in property but limits speculation is important, as is mitigating the impact of foreign buyers who may distort local housing markets.

We believe the abolition of the 457 visa is ill-conceived and hastily introduced.  As we have recently seen, the unintended consequences of this measure are many and the lack of consultation around this change has shown the need for much better engagement.

Finally, we were disappointed to see a lack of focus in this budget on reducing Government bureaucracy and red tape.  This continues to be an area we feel is ripe for focus and could yield not only direct cost reductions but much improved ease of doing business and enhanced investment.

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Peter Meehan 0417 509 022