Senator Jan McLucas recently announced the support the Federal Government was providing for small business in Tropical North Queensland.
Advice and support
Through the recently launched Adviser Finder tool, the Government is improving small business access to the $50 million a year Enterprise Connect Centres and the $42.5 million Business Enterprise Centres.
Enterprise Connect offers comprehensive business advice and support to eligible Australian, small and medium-sized enterprises to help them transform and reach their full potential.
Enterprise Connect has now been extended to tourism businesses in Queensland. Eligible tourism businesses are able to request a comprehensive, confidential and independent Business Review, at no charge. The Tailored Advisory Services Grant gives tourism businesses the chance to engage a consultant to make the improvements recommended by the Enterprise Connect Business Adviser in the Business Review. The Grant reimburses businesses half the cost, up to a maximum of $10,000 (excl GST) of engaging the consultant/s.
The Advance Cairns Business Enterprise Centre
The BEC is recognised as the first and best point of contact for small business operators seeking quality business information, advice and guidance.
On 15 March 2011, Minister for Small Business Nick Sherry launched the Cairns Business Enterprise Centre, based at Advance Cairns, fulfilling a commitment made by the Gillard Government to provide local support for small businesses in Cairns and the region.
Small Business Support Service
On 6 April 2011, the Government announced a $3.3 million funding boost to small business support groups to help them deliver additional services to assist disaster-affected small businesses under the Small Business Advisory Services (SBAS) Program.
Not-for-profit organisations can receive grants of up to $100,000 to deliver services, including business mentoring, assistance with business and marketing plans, preparing for and accessing business finance and programs to build the business skills, in disaster declared zones. Applications closed on 6 May and are currently being assessed.
Small Business Support Line
The Government is providing $7.1 million to continue its highly successful Small Business Support Line. The Support Line has received over 27,000 calls and over 3,000 emails, with strong regional interest.
The Small Business Support Line provides small business owners with a single point of contact to access information and referral services to improve their business sustainability and help better manage their business.
Local Employment Coordinators
The Government is providing $45 million to extend the Keep Australia Working initiative, including the Local Employment Coordinators and Jobs and Skills expos, until 30 June 2013.
Funding of $19 million over three years will also be provided to develop 34 regional education, skills and jobs plans. This will help to identify the needs of the region, and will improve coordination of local employment initiatives.
Fly-In Fly-Out Coordinator
The FIFO Coordinator will assist resources companies to attract and connect skilled workers from the Cairns region to available work on mining, construction and infrastructure projects in remote areas; establish training and employment pathways for skilled workers and unemployed job seekers; and link mining companies with airline and airport services to facilitate the engagement of FIFO workers.
Supporting small business
The Government is already introducing lower and simpler small business taxes by allowing instant write off for all assets costing less than $5,000 from 2012?13. Simpler depreciation will apply to long?life assets as well.
The Government is also introducing, from 2012?13, an early reduction in the company tax rate to 29 per cent to allow small business companies to reinvest and grow.
Additional taxation benefits
The Government will allow small businesses to claim up to $5,000 as an immediate deduction for motor vehicles acquired from 2012?13. The remaining cost is depreciated at 30 per cent (15 per cent in the purchase year), which was the previous treatment for the entire cost of the motor vehicle.
Cars and vans are often a small business's main asset, so an immediate write?off on motor vehicle purchases will assist with this significant cost.
The Government will also reduce Pay As You Go installments for 2011?12 for the majority of small businesses providing a $700 million cash flow benefit.
Tax Assistance for Small Businesses
On 1 June 2009, the Australian Taxation Office introduced measures to help small businesses that are struggling to manage their tax payment obligations. These measures have been extended for a further 12 months, until 30 June 2011.
If a business has an annual turnover of less than $2 million and an activity statement debt, it can apply to enter into a General Interest Charge-free payment arrangement with the ATO from now until 30 June 2011.
The Budget provides new funding to support the sustainability of growing regional centres including:
- $29.2 million over four years to improve strategic planning for regional and coastal high growth centres, reducing red tape for business and fast?tracking investment
- $11.5 million over four years to support regional cities to promote the benefits and opportunities of living away from the capital cities
- $10.1 million to develop a set of sustainability indicators to develop a stronger understanding and enable closer monitoring of sustainability issues.