“The economy is recovering and the challenge will be to maintain the momentum,” said Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
“This budget helps relieve the pressure on Australians immediately and begins to lay the foundations for a more secure economic future.
“A growing economy and a strong fiscal position – fueled by the private sector – will create jobs for Australians and the income needed to fund services and support.
“Our world’s recovery-beating dividend means the government can provide temporary cost-of-living relief while continuing to lock in growth and begin to repair the budget.
“Temporary measures to halve excise duty on fuel and provide targeted cash payments to low-income people and pensioners will now put more money in the pockets of Australians.
“Longer term, the budget begins the essential work of building a more productive, higher wage economy for Australians to move forward.
“The greatest risk of slowing the momentum of the recovery is an acute shortage of workers and a critical skills deficit. This budget goes a long way towards tackling these handbrakes on the economy.
“The government has responded to our calls to restore permanent migration levels and, crucially, has heard the message from businesses to have skilled migrants make up 70% of total inflow.
“Businesses are particularly pleased with the $7 billion investment to educate and train Australians. This is a down payment on the future that will give Australians access to the skills and training they need. need to get better paying jobs and it is a crucial element in attracting more investment to Australia.
“Encouraging women to fully participate in the labor market is a key element of economic growth and tonight’s announcement on paid parental leave builds on last year’s childcare package. These practical changes allow families to choose how they share family responsibilities and how they balance work and family.
“This budget builds on two years of targeted support that has helped businesses keep Australians in their jobs and keep the economy running.
“A 20% allowance for small businesses for digital investments and training will help give them the tools and incentives they need to support the recovery. These measures recognize that small businesses have borne the brunt of COVID.
“A series of sensible tax simplification measures and red tape reductions will also help small businesses manage their cash flow.
“Budget continues the work to make doing business easier through its ongoing efforts to address unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy.
“Essentially, the spending is aimed at improving Australia’s productive capacity through a record-breaking infrastructure program.
“Australia’s regions will also benefit from critical infrastructure that will unlock huge new opportunities and growth. The $2 billion Regional Accelerator program reflects our position that for the whole country to thrive, we must unlock the potential of regional Australia.
“This budget shows that we are on the right track, but we are not out of the woods yet. Rising costs and volatility mean businesses wanting to expand and do new things in Australia face tough decisions and we need to rebalance the investment equation.
“To accelerate our economic momentum, we must act now to ensure Australia is competitive with the rest of the world.
“Long-term business investment remains the missing link. The budget shows a sharp decline in business investment over the past few years, coupled with GDP growth back to 2.5% – this is not the basis for sustained wage growth.
“We need to continuously make Australia a more attractive investment destination and a more competitive place to do business, which is how we offer higher and sustained salaries.
“Both political camps agree that we need to ensure a business-led recovery. To do this, we need to drive investment to transform our economy and put Australians in the box seat.