If you’ve been following the Budget in the media, it seems like the Treasurer delivered some good news in his 2018 Federal Budget and it seems to have been well received by voters. However, there is some devil in the details for individuals, business owners and the nation’s future that need to be considered.
I noted in my last blog that relying on the up and down tax take from our resources sector is not a sustainable model for Australia’s budget health. As most were thinking, the Government was fortunate with tax generated from our companies increasing; our companies were more profitable than expected and therefore taxed more than expected. The increased profitability was due to a number of reasons, though increased global economic activity and increasing commodity prices were particularly significant factors, showing once again how influential the global economy is on our fortunes.
With that said, the Treasurer has passed these benefits on, in part with personal tax cuts for low-medium income earners. That is almost always a positive move (and doesn’t hurt the Government’s election chances).
Similarly, making the tax system fairer for all is another win for the Treasurer, who has promised to crack down on the so-called ‘black economy’. In particular, the new $10,000 cap on cash transactions to businesses for goods and services and the increased integrity measures for Commonwealth procurement processes will go some way to making Aussie taxpayers feel confident that everyone is playing fair.
The other area that has benefited from the economic windfall is infrastructure. We can afford it and we definitely need it. The only caveat here is that we need it to be done well. Australians have had too many rushed, politically motivated and therefore inefficient projects which have run over-time and over-budget. Australians deserve better. For example, the South East Sydney light rail Project Managers, Acciona, are in serious dispute with the Government and look to be well behind schedule. Good governance and due process is required on these massive projects; greater Federal Government involvement and/or oversight may also be required rather than relying on the states. The bottom line is that these windfalls should not be wasted and/or expected to continue – I can imagine a time when the next generation looks back and curses our wastefulness.
Aside from the obvious benefits of improved efficiency in the economy, the infrastructure boost should also lead to more jobs. But do we have enough workers with the right skills to fill these roles? And, more importantly, where is the support for training these workers? What did the budget do for training and education?