“Missed opportunity”: Federal Budget doesn’t pass the Queensland business test

Wednesday 15 May, 2024 | By: Emma Clarke

Short term measures in Tuesday’s Federal Budget will not address low business productivity and weak confidence long-term, Queensland’s peak business body says. 

“An opportunity for permanent business condition improvement has been missed,” Business Chamber Queensland CEO Heidi Cooper said.

“We anticipated a strong cost of living budget, and acknowledge many households are facing inflationary pressures. But businesses are facing those same pressures and expectations for initiatives that drive long term business productivity have not been met.

“We know the pressures experienced around the kitchen table are the same as those experienced around the business table.  Our concern is this budget mainly recognises the current pressure on households and not the mounting pressure on business.

“Businesses are barely surviving, let alone thriving, and this budget does little to change that.”

Budget investments in support for business owners in financial distress and facing mental health challenges goes to show the immense pressure businesses are under.

“But the chance to provide day-to-day relief for businesses and set long term plans to reform our economic environment was overlooked,” Ms Cooper said.

“We want to see a thriving economy that gives the state’s business owners the confidence to grow and invest.  Unfortunately, this week’s Federal Budget does little to give the business community a lot of confidence.

“Queensland businesses are telling us they are desperate for genuine relief – relief from record high costs, an ongoing tight labour market, a restrictive employment landscape and a tough regulatory environment, all compounding to put pressure on productivity and confidence.

“This budget doesn’t provide that relief.

“The business community also wants to see long term planning to improve productivity and foster investment as well as commitments to actively drive down costs and reduce regulatory burden.  This is also missing in the budget.”

Businesses across the state are feeling significant pressure from input costs and skyrocketing energy costs are major issues. 

Ms Cooper said small business energy bill relief of $325 was welcomed, however it equated to little more than $80 a quarter and didn’t match real energy price increases.

“Our businesses tell us they are seeing double digit energy bill increases, often equating to many tens of thousands of dollars a quarter, so a $325 reduction over the course of the next year does little in comparison,” Ms Cooper said.

The Budget also made a multi-billion dollar commitment to the Future Made in Australia Package, to provide economic and business incentives on the energy transition.

The Future Made in Australia Act has the potential to bring some really positive, lasting benefits for businesses, workforces, industries and economies across the state and we’re pleased to see investment in local businesses,” Ms Cooper said.

But specialised investment vehicles don’t give businesses certainty and clarity about what this investment means for them, their supply chain or industry.

“We want to see incentives for all industries to innovate and the business community is looking to the government to get these fundamentals right. 

“Businesses want to see relief from the issues they are experiencing today but they also want to know the business settings of tomorrow are right so they can invest with confidence.

“The business community is seeing little in this budget to give them the confidence they need.”

Business Chamber Queensland will host the Federal Treasurer in Brisbane on May 24 at the 2024 Federal Budget Address by the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP.

Hear first-hand from the Federal Treasurer during his keynote address on what it means for business.

CEO Heidi Cooper will interview the Treasurer on the issues businesses have raised and what they and what to see for business success in Queensland. 

Key Budget outcomes for business:

  • $325 energy bill relief for small businesses
  • The instant asset write-off has been extended for another year. Businesses with a turnover of $10 million can write off up to $20,000.
  • Live sheep exports will be phased out by 2028, and $107 million will be invested over five years to assist the transition.
  • From 1 July 2024, 457 export tariffs will be abolished.
  • $20.5 million to assist small business employers to comply with workplace laws.
  • $10.8 million over two years to 2025–26 to continue delivering mental health and financial counselling support for small business owners.
  • Rail investment between Brisbane and Sunshine Coast ahead of the Olympics


Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.