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Better Access To SME Finance One Piece Of Good News

The Government’s fourth wellbeing budget fittingly delivered a raft of initiatives to support people, communities and the environment, but when it came to business support it was much as expected.

The good news is $100m has been allocated for a Business Growth Fund to give SMEs better access to finance. It is modelled on successful systems overseas and will be very welcome. The $60 million to boost broadband will also benefit remote businesses.

"We are pleased to see initial funding put towards Industry Transformation Plans, particularly $30m to the Advanced Manufacturing ITP to identify priorities towards global best practice and connections. However, it’s likely to need significantly more investment in future budgets to truly transform manufacturing," says Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.

"And while we it’s good to see the extension of the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative and Mana in Mahi, other benefits for funding for education and training remain unclear. We’re not sure the $2b in operating funding and $855m capital for the education system will be focused on outcomes, not outputs, to increase literacy and numeracy, including digital, as we had hoped."

When it comes to infrastructure, the detail in the $4.7b focuses on upgrading existing assets such as modernising rail and existing health infrastructure, and the rest seems to be focused on digitising public service assets.

"More detail is needed on where the rest of the money is going to ensure we are maximising the value we are getting out of major infrastructure spend. Infrastructure is a big driver of business growth, so where is that money going to assist business?" says Mr O’Riley.

"It will also be interesting to see what is funded by the $200m Strategic Partnership Fund, as there are a number of potential projects for funding in the EMA’s regions."

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