LEAN BUDGET: Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered his sixth national budget on May 14.
LEAN BUDGET: Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered his sixth national budget on May 14. AFP

‘Band-Aid’ budget lacks inspiration

QUEENSLAND'S peak business body has tipped a bucket on the Federal Budget, claiming it lacked inspiration.

Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry general manager advocacy Nick Behrens said the government had been right not to rush headlong back to surplus, but the budget lacked a commitment to reducing expenditure.

"Budgetary savings which are really tax increases, coupled with increased tax compliance will do little to build business confidence," he said.

"It is only business confidence that will deliver jobs and growth, which is what this budget claims yet fails to provide."

Mr Behrens said years of deficits and a lack of spending restraint had burdened the government with $212 billion in debt.

"Whilst we applaud commitments such as National Health Reform, Gonski and the National Disability Insurance Scheme we do not believe these should be funded by debt," Mr Behrens said.

"These should be funded through a root-and-branch review of whole government spending."

He said moderate commitments to infrastructure such as the Gateway Mwy and Cross River Rail represented an underinvestment compared to spending in other states and the Queensland business community would be "understandably disappointed".

"There was a strong case for significant additional funding to be announced for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and Bruce Hwy upgrade based on the significant impact these will have on national productivity and economic growth," he said. "CCIQ believes that the Federal Government has not yet met their responsibility to Queensland's infrastructure requirements."

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said the Federal Budget was "a budget of Band-Aids when the patient required targeted surgery to spending and the oxygen of cost relief to boost confidence".

"It is a missed opportunity because it keeps the nation shackled to more years of deficits and a high cost structure that erodes business competitiveness and innovation."

Mr Anderson said the budget should have outlined plans for company tax relief, capital gains tax relief, offsets to fund rises in the superannuation guarantee, restoration of incentives for hiring new apprentices and reduction in red tape.

He backed road and rail infrastructure spending as well as the axing of the baby bonus, but said not enough work was done to wind back the deficit.