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Federal budget 2014: how industry will benefit

14 May, 2014

Small to medium businesses and construction firms are set to benefit from Treasurer Joe Hockey's first budget, delivered on Tuesday (13 May).

"This Budget is part of the Abbott government's Economic Action Strategy that will build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia," Hockey said in a joint statement with Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann.

"It creates a path back to surplus and slashes projections for debt, which means the money that would be wasted on interest payments can now help build the future."

The government has committed to cutting company tax by 1.5 per cent from 1 July, which will affect approximately 800,000 businesses.

An $11.6 billion infrastructure outlay will increase investment to $50 billion by 2019-20, and provide new projects for some of Australia's largest building and engineering companies, along with building products suppliers and project owners like superannuation funds. New rail projects aimed at providing better access to ports and alleviating bottlenecks would also be of benefit to large exporters.

The treasurer also announced the axing of the carbon tax and mining tax.

Businesses will receive up to $10,000 for employing workers older than 50 who have been on income support for six months or more, with the establishment of Restart, meaning there will be stronger incentives to hire older workers.

Read how various industry groups have responded to the 2014 federal budget:

Australian Industry Group Chief Executive Innes Willox:

"The government has big fiscal ambitions for this budget and is backing them with decisive steps to put the budget on a firm long-term footing. However, with the economy at a pivot point characterised by fragile confidence; flat lining productivity; and below-trend growth, the budget also carries some risks to Australia's short-term economic health.

"The commitment to new infrastructure projects addresses the deficit of spending in this area. Properly managed and prioritised, this spending can assist in raising productivity while absorbing some of the capacity that will be released as major mining projects wind up.  The clear role for private sector financing of infrastructure through the asset recycling initiative is particularly welcome."

Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott:

"The 2014–15 federal budget is a solid start to putting the fiscal strategy back on track, but there is much more work to do to support growth and deliver a sustainable budget position for the long term.

"This budget needs to be seen as the start of 10-year strategy that brings spending under control and lifts fiscal discipline, grows the economy and shores up our revenue base, and provides for a sustainable social safety net. It’s a strategy that heavily depends on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government service delivery.

"While the budget has had to grapple with difficult choices, it should give business and the community greater confidence that Australia is starting to lay down the foundations for a stronger future.

"On physical infrastructure, the additional $11.6 billion for the Infrastructure Growth Package to support asset recycling with the states, boost road and rail funding and invest in Western Sydney is a significant investment in the growth of the economy."