The 2024-25 Budget has been released, forecasting significant challenges ahead. With a $3.6 billion deficit, rising unemployment, and a subdued economic outlook, the budget outlines measures to address these issues while also highlighting the fiscal shock of an unfair GST carve-up, where $11.9 billion in GST grant revenue was reallocated away from NSW.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey’s second budget offers modest assistance for SMEs, as the government focuses on housing and fiscal repair.

Key Highlights:

  • Support for SMEs:
    • Continuation of the $325 energy rebate for small businesses.
    • An additional $5 million for the NSW Business Bureau, enhancing business support and guidance.
    • Extension of the Energy Bill Relief Fund for 2024-25, providing $325 for eligible small businesses.
    • Fee-free training for new apprentices and trainees at a cost of $16.3 million.
  • Housing Initiatives:
    • $650 million allocated for essential worker housing.
    • $201.9 million for housing infrastructure in regional areas including Bathurst, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Shoalhaven, Tweed Shire, and Wagga Wagga.
    • $632 million to continue delivering new and safe housing across the Northern Rivers and Central West.
  • Tax Measures:
    • A $1.5 billion tax increase on businesses and landlords by freezing land tax indexation, affecting commercial landholders.
    • A decision to freeze land tax indexation above the current $1.075 million tax-free threshold, despite inflation running at about 4%.
  • Infrastructure and Transport:
    • $2.1 billion for Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2.
    • $13.4 billion over four years for Sydney Metro projects, including Sydney Metro West and Western Sydney Airport Metro.
    • $1.9 billion for a new zero emissions bus fleet and funding for new dedicated bus services in Western Sydney.
    • $1 billion allocated for road upgrades and planning works across Sydney.
  • Support for Regions:
    • $3.3 billion for restoration works to repair flood-damaged roads in Northern Rivers and Central West.
    • $10 million for the Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan.
    • $632.4 million for housing resilience in flood-affected areas.
    • $1.4 billion for regional transport infrastructure projects.
  • Energy and Environment:
    • $5.7 billion over four years for disaster response and recovery.
    • $3.1 billion for energy infrastructure to provide lower cost and more reliable energy.
    • $945.7 million to manage biosecurity threats, including eradicating red fire ants and managing Varroa mites.
    • $307.2 million to improve water security and environmental water quality in regional communities.

In Summary: While the budget provides some relief and support measures for businesses, the decision to freeze land tax indexation will place additional financial pressure on commercial landholders, ultimately impacting businesses. The focus on housing and infrastructure aims to address long-term challenges and support regional development.

Stay informed and prepared as we navigate the economic landscape together.

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