State Budget offers little confidence for Queensland business

Tuesday 11 June, 2024 | By: Emma Clarke

Today’s State Budget does not deliver genuine, direct relief to the state’s business community and fails to lay the foundations for long-term business confidence.

The state’s peak business body is warning short-term cost of living measures do little to give businesses future economic confidence or measures to address declining productivity and profitability.

Business Chamber Queensland CEO Heidi Cooper says short-term measures like energy rebates and registration discounts are welcomed but don’t meet expectations for long-term, systematic relief from business cost and economic pressures.

“Business confidence is weak, conditions are tough, productivity and profitability are declining and this budget doesn’t address those challenges,” Ms Cooper said.

“We know there are cost of living pressures in the community and those same cost pressures are being felt by businesses. We didn’t see substantial investments to help businesses manage day-to-day pressures, or plan for long-term investment.

“Many businesses are struggling to survive, let alone thrive and this budget is a missed opportunity for the State Government to offer businesses significant relief or confidence for the future of their operations.”

At the top of the priority list, businesses needed budget investments to create a business-friendly state, from operating cost relief to reducing regulatory burden and relieving workforce constraints.

“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,” Ms Cooper said.

Ms Cooper said a freeze on government fees and charges was welcome but there was still work to do to provide any substantial regulatory relief to business.

“We know the financial and time cost for businesses to comply with inefficient government regulation has doubled in the past two years so its important regulatory costs have been acknowledged. But it’s a temporary measure and a commitment not to increase these regulatory costs for the next year doesn’t reduce the impact businesses are already under and will continue to experience,” Ms Cooper said.

“We also welcome a significant investment in infrastructure right across the state. In particular, transport infrastructure will enable commerce to occur more efficiently with better connectivity.

“We’re a big state so transport infrastructure is critical – it is a business enabler.

“But when we’re considering procurement strategies for the Big Build we need to ensure businesses are front and centre of these opportunities, to ensure businesses of all sizes and in all regions can be a part of this increased infrastructure spend.

“We want to see a thriving economy that gives the state’s business owners the confidence to grow and invest.  

“This budget does not give Queensland businesses the confidence they need.”

Business story

Flour and Chocolate Patisserie owner Kylie Scott said she expected the budget to deliver relief from insurance, rent and electricity costs – mounting pressures which are impacting businesses in every industry and across the state.

“It’s disappointing,” she said.

“I don’t think the government knows the dire situation a lot of small businesses are in at the moment, especially in the hospitality industry. Business owners are the people who keep a large part of the community going.”

Kylie said the business had faced significant cost increases across the operations, including a 35% increase in chocolate prices. It’s a cost the business needs to pass on. 

“Small businesses are just trying to keep their head above water and keep the doors open,” Kylie said.

“Payroll tax is another significant cost, and another pressure coming from government, another expense on top of everything else.”

She said barriers to access support often meant they went without.

“The obstacles are so high. I don’t have time to find out how to access help. It’s really no help at all,” Kylie said.

“The government needs to actually take action, it’s all words. We don’t see the help, we don’t see the support. The last few months have been a kick in the teeth and we are at breaking point.”

Kylie and her husband Lachlan employ 90 people at the family business at Morningside, Northgate and Redcliffe, which they started 13 years ago.

“We are trying to be optimistic. We still want to be here, we still want to be operating, serving our customers and growing our business,” Kylie said.

“At the moment we’ve had to press stop and restart, and go back to what our values were 13 years ago. We just don’t have the financial capacity to move ahead at the moment.”


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.