ARA pre-budget submission delivers wins

The announcement of the 2023-24 Federal Parliament Budget last week primarily focused on providing $14.6 billion cost of living relief to 5 million households, 1 million small businesses and increasing support for low-income families.

We have reviewed the 2023-24 Federal Budget and are encouraged to see that our pre-budget advocacy for Retail Sector has returned some results. Understandably, it is not enough in the current economic climate and we will continue to advocate in the coming months to ensure your responses to the Budget are delivered to the Government.

Below is quick summary of key areas of budget allocation and announcements that will impact our retail sector:

Funding and Announcements

Targeted areas included in ARA pre-budget submission:

Support Small Business Recovery for a Strong Retail Sector
  • $23.4 million to help small businesses build cyber awareness and capability.
  • $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses.
Address Labour and Skills Shortages
  • Expanding access to the foundation skills program to develop language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills.
  • Providing extra 2 years of post-study work rights to temporary graduate visa holders for key sectors.
  • Allocating 70% of Permanent Migration Programs places to skilled migrants.
  • $3.7 billion for a five-year national skills agreement.
  • $400 million to support 300,000 fee-free places at TAFE and vocational education.
Increase Supply Chain Resilience
  • Independent strategic review into Government’s $120 billion pipeline focused on projects which improve long term productivity, supply chains and economic growth.
  • $200 million through Disaster Ready Fund towards strengthening disaster planning and resilience by building seawalls, levees and bushfire risk reduction.
  • $500 mil to modernise and grow Australia’s industrial capabilities.
  • $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund – investment in onshore manufacturing of products.
  • New $392.4 million Industry Growth Program to help support small to medium-sized businesses and startups develop new products and services to grow their operations.
  • $1.1 billion for existing road maintenance and safety programs.


Enable sustainable business practices

  • Establishing the national Net-Zero Authority.
  • $2 billion to accelerate the development of Australia’s hydrogen industry.
  • $1.3 billion to support the decarbonisation of existing industries.
  • $314 million in tax cuts for businesses that ‘go green’. Small and medium-sized businesses investing in energy efficient equipment could be eligible for a tax deduction of up to $20,000.
  • $3 billion in energy relief for 5 million households and 1 million small businesses ($650 for eligible small businesses).
  • A $12 per gigajoule price cap on domestic gas prices until 1 July 2025.


Support Safe and Inclusive Workplaces

  • The government will publish the gender pay gaps of employers with 100 or more workers from 2024.


Workforce Support

The ARA has consistently advocated for improvements to childcare support and access to other workplace supports for women in particular and we are supportive of the below measures within this year’s budget.

  • $531.6 million investment to expand the Paid Parental Leave scheme up to 26 weeks by July 2026.
  • $4.7 billion over four years to make it easier and cheaper for parents to access early childhood education and care.
  • The Government is also providing families with First Nations children access to a minimum level entitlement of 36 hours per fortnight of subsidised early childhood education and care from July 2023. This will provide a strong foundation for First Nation’s children.
  • $20.2 million investment to establish two new Expert Panels on Pay Equity and the Care and Community Sector in the Fair Work Commission. This will strengthen the Fair Work Commission’s capacity to hear and determine applications from female-dominated industries whose work is often undervalued and under-paid.
  • Reforming the workplace relations system to make gender equity an objective of the Fair Work Act 2009 and legislating a statutory equal remuneration principle

Additional areas affecting Retail announced:

  • $79.5 million over 4 years to double the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance.
  • $4.3 million in funding for ASIC to expand “surveillance and enforcement functions” on businesses making green claims.
  • $86.5 million to establish a National Anti-Scam centre, boosting ASIC’s work to disrupt investment scam websites and to prevent scammers imitating trusted brand names.
  • $26.9 million to expand Digital ID to increase consumer protection and reduce fraud.
  • $13.2 million funding to design new ATO real-time compliance system to identify unpaid superannuation.
  • From 1 July 2026 employers will be required to pay their employees super at the same time they pay their wages.
  • Announcement to ban nicotine and non-nicotine vapes. The only permitted use will be therapeutic vapes, which require a prescription.
  • Increase in the tobacco excise by 5% over three years.
  • Increasing Temporary Skilled Migration income threshold to $70,000.
  • Providing extra 2 years of post-study work rights to temporary graduate visa holders for key sectors.
  • From 1 January 2024 large Australian multinationals and the Australian operations of large foreign multinationals will pay an effective tax rate of at least 15%.
  • GST Instalments will now increase by 6 % instead of 12%. 
  • ‘Buy Australian Plan’ to improve approach to Government procurement.
  • Abolishment of Parents Next Program.

Sources: Budget 2023-24 Stronger foundations for a better future, May 2023, GovConnex Research 2023 Federal Budget Summary, ARA Pre-budget Submission January 2023,



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