Treasurer Wayne Swan
Treasurer Wayne Swan

Budget fails to impress business

THE business community has labelled the budget as economically appropriate, mildly disappointing, uninspired and a blow to confidence given its cuts-heavy content.

One business leader was shocked at the size of the $18 billion deficit. Caloundra Chamber of Commerce president Michael Shadforth doubted Treasurer Wayne Swan's assertion that a return to surplus would come by 2016.

"It's very hard to believe they can get back on track in three years,'' Mr Shadforth said.

"I think it's clear that this government knows it won't get re-elected based on that budget."

Regional Development Australia chairman Max Standage said his organisation welcomed confirmation of the Bruce Hwy upgrades at Cooroy, Pomona and Roys Rd.

"We support these upgrades, as well as the upgrade to the Gateway Mwy, as both of these main linking roads have a real effect on the economy of the Sunshine Coast,'' Professor Standage said.

Stephen Dittmann, Sunshine Coast policy chair of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, said the budget was a "deficit exit strategy, lacking in detail, transparency, accountability and with little inspiration for Queensland businesses".

"A failure to prudently rein in spending in prior budgets now leaves Federal Labor having accumulated $212 billion in debt across six years," he said.

"We appreciate that it has been a challenging global environment, but this deficit is born out of a lack of restraint in expenditure.

"While 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.

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

"Queensland business will understandably be disappointed.''

Key points for business

► Baby Bonus scrapped

► Self-education expenses capped at $2000

► Superannuation reforms to save $821million

► $24 billion National Building Program to be rolled out from 2014, including Bruce Hwy ($4.1 billion) and Ipswich Mwy ($279 million) upgrades

► $29.4 million Enterprise Solution Program to help SMEs vying for government services and tenders

► $12.9 million to help businesses in accessing the National Broadband Network