Queensland Budget: BDO Commentary

Richard Coombs |

14 July 2015

The Palaszczuk Government's first Budget has lived up to its advertisement as a 'vanilla' budget, according to leading audit, tax and advisory firm BDO.

Having considered all measures announced this afternoon, BDO has identified few items of note that will impact the Queensland business community.

Departments will have to reduce their discretionary spending by 1.9 billion dollars including: $480 million from Health and $260 million from Education. This is likely to see a reduction in the number of consultants and other small businesses being called on by these departments.

BDO Brisbane Managing Partner Tony Schiffmann said through BDO’s work with a variety of businesses across a range of industries, it was his opinion that Queensland’s economy was not as bad as it appeared.

“Through our dealings with clients across many industries, the sentiment is that confidence is certainly growing,” Mr Schiffmann said.

“Some of the announcements made today are good news for businesses and will continue to boost confidence over the next couple of years.”

Small Business

BDO Tax Partner Leisa Rafter has welcomed the $40 million Business Development Fund, as well as the additional $4.7 million in 2015–16 for enhancement and transformation of online services.

“Queensland is full of businesses who are screaming for this kind of funding so it’s great to see it become available,” Ms Rafter said.

“Payroll tax is a direct disincentive to employment so it’s good to see reform for employers of apprentices and trainees, or new companies.

“However employers will be looking for further reform in future budgets.”

Research and Development

BDO Research and Development Partner Nicola Purser said the $180 million Advance Queensland plan, including the small business development fund, was good news for next-generation business in Queensland or particular with significant funding set aside for the technology sector.

Ms Purser said the plan was positive for business but needed to be easy to access.

“We’d like to see the government not over engineer the process to allow Queensland businesses to grow,” Ms Purser said.

“The Advance Queensland plan includes $24 million to be set aside for a program aimed at start-ups.

“This is great news for the local start-up community as investment is a key factor in whether new businesses grow or instead dissolve due to lack of capital.

“There are already some great new Queensland businesses succeeding and many others demonstrating signs of potential growth, so this kind of government support is sure to stimulate the sector and hopefully attract new investors into Queensland in the process.”

Infrastructure

BDO Corporate Finance Partner Reece Edwards said a focus on infrastructure was pivotal for business confidence across Queensland.

“A $10 billion capital investment in infrastructure is good news for Queensland,” Mr Edwards said.

“Infrastructure investment in Queensland is so important and we encourage the Palaszczuk Government to take a proactive approach to this and thinking innovatively. We are pleased to see the establishment of Building Queensland in facilitating this investment.”

“The market-led proposals approach to encourage private sector input for infrastructure challenges is a good way for the public and private sector to work together on prioritising the most necessary and viable projects.”

Agribusiness

BDO Food and Agribusiness expert and Executive Director of Corporate Finance Margaux Beauchamp said she was pleased to see a focus on biosecurity threats and vocational and skills training.

“It is important when we reconnect with consumers and tell our food production stories that we are able to give them confidence in the quality and safety of Australian food,” Ms Beauchamp said.

“It’s also good to see the active approach taken to vocational and skills training. BDO would like to see, in particular, a focus on financial literacy training.

“If beef producers better understand the financials for their business it is less likely the increases in beef prices will result in a beef property asset bubble with unsustainable debt levels.”

Not-for-profit

BDO Not-For-Profit Lead Partner Chris Skelton said the $1.9 billion for the early launch of the NDIS meant there was no time to waste for disability service providers.

“The NDIS will significantly change the way disability services are offered to consumers, and with the announcement the launch will now be brought forward, businesses need to be ready for the huge changes to the way they operate.”