The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the 2010 Federal Budget has disregarded the engine room of the economy, with only 'old news' initiatives announced for small business.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said retailers who have been overburdened with regulatory changes would be disappointed they have not been recognised in yesterday's budget announcement – they need a boost now, not in two years time.
"The only headline small business initiatives in [yesterday]'s budget are nothing but recycled news from the Henry Tax Review announcement last week.
"The decision to expedite a cut in company tax rate from 30 to 28 per cent for small business was announced last week and will mean little for retailers who will also be hit with increased superannuation payments for employees. The tax write-off for assets under $5000 was also part of the Henry Review and like reductions in company tax, will not come into effect until 1 July 2012.”
Zimmerman said the only consolation for retailers and other small business owners is that further announcements regarding the Henry Tax Review may finally answer calls for payroll tax to be abolished, supported by almost 55 per cent of retailers. So far, retailers' calls for relief from payroll tax, which would have a direct and positive impact on jobs and product prices, have gone unheard.
"Retailers are battling with an overwhelming amount of regulatory change including the major operational challenge being the introductory of the new General Retail (Modern) Award on July 1 2010 and the threat of inspections to follow from the Fair Work Ombudsman. Yet, the Federal Budget's focus on skills completely overlooks employer training to understand the Fair Work Act.
"While small business will support the forecasts for surplus three years sooner than expected, we are also disappointed the budget shows little evidence of reduced government expenditure," Zimmerman said.