The federal government has announced it will see the 2013-14 Budget in a $18 billion deficit and little of its predicted spending mentions support for businesses, including retailers.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA is disappointed the budget offered no obvious support for small business with the lack of tax relief, higher personal income tax (Medicare levy), no capital gains tax relief, no cost offset to fund the hike in the superannuation levy and no reduction in tax compliance and red-tape.

“It seems that Australian businesses will again bear the brunt of fiscal ill-discipline, with the $200 million increased tax burden next year adding to business costs and eroding Australia’s productive capacity,” he said.

“The changes to the medical tax offset are another hit on consumers’ pockets, with no tax relief for consumers or business and only forecast increases in tax; the retail sector will struggle to maintain confidence.

“Retailers will feel the effects of the scrapped baby bonus, which will reduce from $5,000 to $2,000 for a first child and from $3,000 to $1,000 for a second child and will be means tested and those with an income over $112,000 will be ineligible to receive the bonus.

“The abolition of the baby bonus will hit young families hip pockets just when they hit retail stores catering for their new children

“Once again a sneaky grab for cash from those who can least afford it along with already announced tax.”

However, the Budget did outline small and medium sized businesses and start up companies will be provided with expanded business assistance and better access to finance through the $378 million Venture Australia package to stimulate Australia's venture capital market.

It also noted $45 million will be committed to a Skill Connect Fund to deliver more effective workplace training for Australian businesses.

Zimmerman said the ARA looks forward to learning more about the commitment and hopes this will somehow benefit Australian retailers and up-skill retail workers.

The ARA is also pleased to see the Government’s commitment to delivering Nation-shaping infrastructure with the commitment of $24 billion to new infrastructure investment which will be of benefit to retailers. 

“Any boost in infrastructure will see increased employment opportunities, and from a retailer’s standpoint, hopefully result in increased retail sales,” Zimmerman said.

“Retailers will also benefit from increased efficiency in transport and delivery the commitment to infrastructure.”