Manufacturing among priorities in new Victorian budget submission

Image credit: Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has released its 2023-24 Victorian Budget Submission containing 70 recommendations including manufacturing to boost jobs and investment. 

The submission, based on the 2022 State Election Platform, Powering Victoria’s Future, covers emphasis on research and development incentives to small and medium manufacturing businesses to boost the local industry, according to a media release

It is organised around four major pillars such as enhancing Victoria’s employment opportunities and skill-building opportunities, establishing Victoria as the ‘best state’ to start and run a business, promoting Victoria’s economy and expanding Regional Victoria.

“Empowering business with the skills that are needed now and into the future will not only allow our State’s first-class manufacturing and service industries to grow but also provide significant economic growth,” said Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra.

Recommendations also cover energy, tax, regulation, skills and training, infrastructure, transport, major events and Victoria’s regions. 

The state said it includes an express request to ensure Victoria follows a path to return to budget surplus.

One initiative is the development and implementation of energy efficiency incentives for businesses, such as tax breaks or grants, to encourage the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and practices.

It is expressly requested that the payroll tax threshold be raised throughout Victoria from $700,000 to $1.2 million and that Regional Victoria’s payroll tax rate be lowered from 1.21 per cent to zero in order to be comparable to that of New South Wales in order to increase the region’s appeal for business investment and expansion.

A standardised microcredentials framework, including defining the role, accreditation requirements, and funding mechanisms of microcredentials is also sought by The Victorian Chamber to enable the rapid reskilling and upskilling of the workforce.

Meanwhile, to address the skills shortage, the state requests funding for a targeted, industry-led ‘Work in the Regions’ initiative to encourage people to work in regional industries experiencing skills shortages.

Making it simpler and more financially appealing to own and run a business in Victoria, according to Guerra, will encourage greater investment throughout the state, which will result in more jobs for Victorians and economic growth.

“Off the back of a recent State Election, the ask from the business community is to support them with appropriate energy cost reduction and enabling the Victorian business to be competitive with other states. This year’s State Budget must provide small, medium, large and family businesses with the right conditions to contribute to Victoria’s economic growth,” Guerra said. 

The chief executive added that the government should concentrate on budgetary repair to lower the state’s debt through cost control and project management. 

He said the projected route to a budget surplus must be followed because we need to preserve Victoria’s capacity to borrow money at favourable rates thanks to the state’s credit rating.