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Ai Group Pre-Budget Survey: Business tax relief, infrastructure, budget balance and workforce training are the top business priorities

"A new Ai Group survey of Australian business has put tax relief, infrastructure, budget balance and training at the top of the priorities corporate leaders regard as the most important areas of focus in the upcoming Federal Budget," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The survey of 400 large and small businesses from across the economy gave top ranking to the following three budget areas: 

  • Reducing the burden of business taxation – with 30% of businesses ranking this as their leading priority;
  • Increasing public investment in infrastructure – one quarter of businesses ranked this as their highest priority; and
  • Bringing the Federal Budget back into balance over the next five years – the top priority for 14% of businesses.

"13% of businesses view reducing or reforming personal income tax as a top priority, followed by increasing government investment in workforce development in the form of training and apprenticeships (8%) and maintaining or increasing spending on research, development and innovation (6%).

"Clearly emerging as a priority for business is an emphasis on skills, training and apprenticeships with a third of respondents listing investment in workforce development as a high priority.

"54 per cent of business leaders give top or second highest ranking to the reduction of the business tax burden. This is an unambiguous expression of support for the Government's Enterprise Tax Plan which will again be considered by the House of Representatives early in the Budget parliamentary session.

"The budget priorities identified by business leaders in this survey reinforce the major policy directions highlighted in Ai Group's 2017-18 Budget Submission (January 2017).

"Our policy recommendations for this year's Federal Budget include stronger investment in skills, training, apprenticeships and education for our current and future workforce; reducing Australia's high business tax burden – with an initial emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses; increased funding for rigorously assessed public infrastructure; and continued budget consolidation, with a focus on finding efficiencies and investing savings in productivity enhancing initiatives.

"Business will assess next Tuesday's Budget against these priorities and will be encouraging all sides of politics to support policies that underpin the business investment and improved productivity required to lift community living standards," Mr Willox said.

Read the full Survey Results  

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347