In the lead up to the release of Tuesday’s NSW budget, Western NSW Business Chamber’s regional manager Vicki Seccombe says there are a few key issues that need to be addressed.
Ms Seccombe said improving the competitiveness of the tax system, investing in regional NSW and building NSW’s skills base should be high on the government’s agenda.
“There’s no shortage of areas which can be identified that both support the business sector and deliver real benefits to Western NSW, “ she said.
“For example, our members cite a stronger local economy, more regional infrastructure and improved strategies for regional development among their top priorities for this year’s budget.”
The Chamber has also called on the government to reevaluate payroll tax.
“As an extra cost applied on top of staff wages, payroll tax creates a clear disincentive for small businesses to employ more people,” she said.
“While businesses write the cheque, employees pay through lower wages, as well as fewer jobs and hours on offer.
“In a survey of our members, 85 percent of affected businesses told us they decided against hiring more staff because of the prospect of becoming liable for payroll tax.”
Ms Seccombe said members were also concerned about lack of access to skilled staff, “a challenge that is particularly profound in Western NSW”.
“There is an obvious disconnect happening with how we are training our young people as many of the areas in NSW that report high skills shortages also experience high rates of youth unemployment and disengagement.
“We will be looking to the budget to see how the NSW government will build the strength of vocational education and training outside and within school to encourage more young people into trade opportunities.
“[Also] With the partial leasing of electricity networks all but finalised, the NSW Government must now focus on delivering the promised infrastructure projects to regional NSW.”