Optimistic Assumptions Raise More Concerns for Business Over ALP Election Commitments: CCIQ
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has raised serious questions over the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) election commitments where a reversal in previously harmonised penalty rates, the abolition of the Australian Building Construction Commission and scant detail on an ambitious climate policy weigh on business sentiment across Queensland.
The Federal Opposition have projected $57.9 billion worth of surpluses out to 2022-23, larger than the $40.8 billion outlined in the May budget which capped tax receipts at 24.3% of gross domestic product.
Labor expect its mooted changes to superannuation, dividend imputation, trusts and negative gearing to deliver $154 billion in savings over an unspecified time period, with the proceeds to be used to pay down debt over the medium term while at the same time embarking on a large spending program on “positive investments”.
CCIQ notes that a proposed living wage, a reversal to the penalty rates decision and the abolition of the Australian Building Construction Commission are of significant concern to business.
CCIQ Head of Media and Industry, Dan Petrie said the budget plan put forward by the Australian Labor Party reflects a counter-productive strategy towards older Australians and particularly the small business community, which are already operating on tight margins.
“Many of the policy initiatives are couched in terms of the politics of envy and, even more disappointingly, the ALP have chosen to interfere in the independence of the Fair Work Commission in the setting of wages.
“The penalty rates issues has been masked by misinformation where no scrutiny has been placed on the fact that this decision was to harmonise the Saturday and Sunday rate, noting that the lower tax loading on the Saturday rate offset a modest reduction in the before-tax rate for employees working on Sunday.
Whilst initiatives around new housing construction and the extension of the instant asset-write off are welcome, however, the ability to implement such policy within the framework of budget responsibility are predicated on current levels of commodities pricing.
“Iron ore and metallurgical coal pricing continue to assist state and federal treasuries, which can allow policy makers the luxury of not having to make difficult decisions.
“Whilst natural gas pricing has improved on the back of a stronger oil price, such income is ultimately volatile at best and, when elevated, only places further pressure on energy dependent sectors such as transport and manufacturing,” Mr Petrie said.
CCIQ urges Federal Labor to maintain sensible budget settings and reassess its intervention into the Fair Work wage determination.
Queensland business confidence, following the latest Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse survey, continues to show sentiment at four-year lows as economic activity remains low amidst concerns of increasing costs around wages and energy which may increase after the election on May 19.