Federal Budget

Budget tax measures fast tracked

By Melissa Blewitt

Tax depreciation measures announced in the Federal Government’s May budget will be brought forward to 1 July this year.

In a $70 million announcement, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, unveiled that accelerated depreciation claims for fencing, water infrastructure and fodder storage would begin on 1 July 2016.

Post budget, Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce indicated he would push Mr Hockey to bring forward the measures to assist farmers facing ongoing drought.

Last Wednesday (27 May), Federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billson confirmed that the program would begin 12 months earlier than stated.

“I am very happy to announce to you all today that the $70 million immediate asset depreciation measure for our farmers and primary producers originally intended to start from 1 July next year is being brought forward to be effective from Budget night,” he said in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra.

“This is great news and it will enable farmers to claim accelerated depreciation on vital infrastructure such as water facilities, fodder storage, fencing and the like – and it is an ongoing initiative.”

He added the changes reflected the feedback the Government had gotten from primary producers, and was aimed at giving a boost to regional Australia and about doing it right now.

Mr Joyce, along with farmers and connected businesses have welcomed the move. This means farmers who were planning to buy silos to store grain or improve water infrastructure on their properties, can now write off the associated tax over three years.

The Government is expected to release its Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper later in the year.

Condo’s small businesses welcome Budget benefits

Condobolin business owners and operators have welcomed this year’s Federal Budget measures for small business, saying they hope it will help more local businesses remain profitable.

• Hairdresser Rhonda Shields: “Maybe we can become a little more competitive.” LP

By Lara Pearce

Condobolin business owners and operators have welcomed this year’s Federal Budget measures for small business, saying they hope it will help more local businesses remain profitable.

Joe Hockey’s budget surprised many with a $5.5 billion investment in Australia’s two million small businesses aimed at stimulating the economy from the ground up.

Small businesses will be able to claim a 100% tax deduction on an unlimited number of cars, machinery and other items up to the value of $20,000 for their business.

Individual purchases over the value of $20,000 will also be able to be claimed but will go into a pool and be depreciated at 15% in the first income year and at 30% each year after that.

Condobolin business owners and operators have welcomed this year’s Federal Budget measures for small business, saying they hope it will help more local businesses remain profitable.

• Butcher Daryl Nairn: “Every little bit helps at the moment.” LP

Additionally, from 1 July this year, approximately 780,000 small companies with a turnover of less than $2 million will have their tax lowered from 30% to 28.5%.

Rhonda Shields, who is the owner-operator of RJ’s Hair Salon, says the $20,000 tax concession will be very useful when purchasing new equipment for the salon.

“We are constantly updating, especially with blow dryers and GHDs and new basins and couches,” she said.

“It is nice to see small businesses get this because they normally don’t get much.”

“Often they class a small business as ten employees – well, I don’t class that as a small business. For once, they have thought about the individual owner-operators and those with one or two employees.”

Ms Shields hopes that the measures will enable Condobolin’s businesses to better compete with businesses out of town.

“It is hard to keep people shopping locally,” she said. “With the incentives that they have offered us, we can maybe become a little bit more competitive.”

Butcher Daryl Nairn hopes to use the new tax breaks to write off a new motor for the front cool room at Condo Quality Meats.

“Things are quite tough at the moment,” he said. “Beef prices are going up and up and so that is really cutting back on our profit margins.”

“Every little bit helps.”

Peter Kuhn of the Swiss Watch Centre welcomes the tax breaks.

Condobolin business owners and operators have welcomed this year’s Federal Budget measures for small business, saying they hope it will help more local businesses remain profitable.

• Café operators Sue Fleming and Elaine Petty: “It is great for all the small businesses in Condobolin.” LP

“It is certainly a way of encouraging people to look at their business and look at ways to make it work better for them,” he said.

However, he believes that the Government still needs to do more to encourage people into rural areas such as Condobolin.

“They need to show people in major areas what the benefits are to living out in this area – the nice golf courses, the great weather, all those sorts of things – and perhaps try and attract them and their businesses out here,” he said.

Sue Fleming and Elaine Petty opened a new café, Chips Ahoy, on Bathurst Street earlier this year.

“For where we stand right now, it doesn’t help because we are still getting started and you have to have the cash flows to save the money,” said Ms Fleming, “but it will have a positive impact down the track.”

“It is great for all the small businesses in Condobolin, especially the ones who are struggling to get up and running.”

While Joe Hockey says that the tax concessions will be back dated to Budget night (Tuesday 12 May), the measures are yet to be passed through Parliament and businesses are being warned that the legislation could still be altered before being passed.

“Devastating” cuts to Lachlan Shire Council

Local councils in New South Wales will be $288 million worse off under changes announced in the Federal Budget, with the Lachlan Shire and other rural communities predicted to be the hardest hit.

• Lachlan Shire Council Chambers on Molong Street. LP

By Lara Pearce

Local councils in New South Wales will be $288 million worse off under changes announced in the Federal Budget, with the Lachlan Shire and other rural communities predicted to be the hardest hit.

In the Federal Budget last Tuesday, Joe Hockey announced a three year freeze to Federal Government assistance grants to local councils. Rural and regional councils such as Condobolin will be most affected due to their heavy reliance on Federal Government assistance.

The Mayor of Lachlan Shire, Clr Des Manwaring, says he is disappointed with the decision. “Previously [the grant freezes] have only ever been for one year,” he said.

The Mayor noted that only around 25% of the Lachlan Shire Council’s income comes from ratepayers – a much smaller percentage than councils in major centres. “We’ve got a big area and not a lot of population,” he explained. “The Federal Government grants have been reducing in real terms by about 1% per year for the past 20 years, and these reductions will be about another 2.5%, and that doesn’t include inflation.”

“It just means we have got to tighten our belts a bit more. We’re battling to balance our books at the moment, so it will probably mean a reduction in services somewhere along the line.”

Local Government NSW President, Keith Rhoades, condemned the Federal Government’s measures. “A lot of smaller rural councils rely heavily on those Federal Grants. This is a devastating blow for them,” he said.

He also noted that the current system of council rate pegging left the councils with few places to turn.

In NSW, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal determines the amount by which councils are allowed to increase their rates, and this increase often lags behind inflation. This means council rates can decrease in real terms each year.

“This rates increase is in no way going to make up for what was handed down in the budget,” he said.

The Federal Government has defended the cuts to local councils, instead touting the National Stronger Regions Fund as a major boost for regional communities. Under the scheme, over $1 billion of funds will go towards infrastructure in regional areas across Australia, in line with the Government’s pre-election promise.

“This funding will support priority projects which create jobs and support economic growth in regional Australia,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Develop Warren Truss said.

The 294 community projects currently being processed under the Community Development Grants program include $200,000 of funding for a skate park in Cobar, $4 million for a regional museum and cultural square in Orange and airport development in Parkes.

However, none of the projects currently under development in the scheme are in the Lachlan Shire.

Mayor, Clr Des Manwaring, said that councils in rural areas such as the Lachlan Shire had additional services they were expected to provide, without being allocated any additional funding.

“We have the most road of any council in New South Wales – 4,500km of road and no major highway. The only bit of road we don’t have to pay for is between [Condobolin] and Ootha,” he said.“We supply houses and cars for the doctors at the Medical Centre, and we provide the Medical Centre, which has been rent-free up until now. These are things we do to encourage doctors to our towns.”­­

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites