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Release type: Media Release


Small business a budget winner


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education
Senator for Western Australia

The Liberal National Government has tonight announced a suite of measures for small and family businesses, which will ensure that these businesses are able to prosper and grow and create more jobs.

Small businesses are the engine room of the Australian economy and backing small business is a key part of the Liberal National Government’s plan for a stronger economy.

The Government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold to $30,000 and expanding access to medium-sized businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million. These changes will apply from 2 April 2019 to 30 June 2020 and will benefit around 3.4 million businesses employing around 7.7 million workers.

The threshold applies on a per asset basis so eligible businesses can instantly write off multiple assets.  Businesses will be able to benefit from the instant asset write-off as they grow, providing a direct incentive to reinvest in their business. 

“The increase of this initiative will further improve cash flow for hard working Australian small business owners by bringing forward tax deductions, providing a boost to small business activity and encouraging more small businesses to reinvest in their operations, and replace or upgrade their assets,” Minister Cash said. 

“Australia’s small businesses do the heavy lifting by strengthening the economy and supporting our communities. They make up around 99 per cent of Australian businesses and contributed $393 billion to the Australian economy.

“The 2019-20 Budget continues to put in place a policy environment that makes it easier to establish, operate and grow a small business in Australia.”

The Liberal National Government’s Budget highlights for small business include: 

Encouraging investment 

  • Increasing the instant asset write-off threshold to $30,000 and expanding access to medium sized businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million. 

Skilled workforce

  • $525 million to ensure Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector delivers the skills critical to the economy now and into the future. 

Export markets

  • $60 million increase to the Export Market Development Grants Scheme (EMDG) bringing the total annual spend to $157.9 million, to assist current and aspiring SME exporters to utilise free trade agreements and seek new offshore opportunities.


  • $61.2 million to establish the Energy Efficient Communities Program, which will provide grants to businesses and community organisations to improve energy efficiency practices and technologies to better manage energy consumption. 

Mental health  

  • $11.5 million for a National Mental Health Workplace Initiative that will support businesses – including sole traders - and workers to create a mentally healthy workplace. 

Supporting innovation 

  • $6 million for a Mission Control Centre in South Australia that will create a platform for SMEs and researchers to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing and the accelerated development of Australian satellite technology.
  • $11.4 million to break through technical and scientific trade barriers so Australian fruit and vegetables can get market access into more countries, faster.


  • $29.4 million to enhance Australia’s agricultural exports to increase industry access to export markets and capitalise on emerging export opportunities. 
  • $6.1 million to extend the Package Assisting Small Exporters for boutique producers.
  • Extending the seasonal workers visa program to allow our farmers to fill their seasonal labour vacancies.
  • A 12 month pilot to help smaller farmers address agricultural workforce shortages as part of the Seasonal Worker Programme. 

Live Music Industry

  • $30.9 million to support the Australian live music industry as part of the Live Music Australia Initiative.

Supporting Defence Industry

  • Establishing the Sovereign Industrial Capability Grant program to invest up to $17 million in grants per year to build the capacity and capability of SMEs to participate in the defence industry. 

Indigenous businesses 

  • Introducing a new three per cent value target for all Commonwealth contracts to be awarded to Indigenous businesses, building on the success of 1,400 indigenous businesses winning $1.83 billion in commonwealth contracts since 2013.   

These initiatives build upon the Liberal National Government’s strong track record of putting small businesses first and making the economy stronger, including:

  • fast tracking company tax relief and increasing the unincorporated small business tax discount rate to 16 per cent again locked in for 2021-22; 
  • making it easier for small businesses to access finance through the $2 billion Securitisation Fund;
  • improving cash flow for small businesses by paying invoices for Government contracts under $1 million in just 20 days and requiring contracting businesses to do the same;
  • streamlining GST reporting for around 2.7 million small businesses. 
  • encouraging state governments to cut red tape with $300 million of incentive payments;
  • the establishment of a simple dispute resolution service under the Australian Financial Complaints Authority; and 
  • the creation of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

The Liberal National Government will continue to support small business and deliver a stronger economy that benefits all Australians.