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Missed opportunity to support small businesses but welcome changes to address housing shortage

CPA Australia 3 mins read
John Curtin Distinguished Professor Dale Pinto FCPA, President & Chair of the Board, CPA Australia

9 May 2024

Missed opportunity to support small businesses but welcome changes to address housing shortage

  • While the WA budget delivers measures aimed at alleviating the cost of living for households, it represents a missed opportunity to provide much-needed support to small businesses.
  • It is positive that the WA government is experimenting with incentives rather than taxes to increase the supply of rental housing.

Many Western Australian families will receive welcome cost of living support, but Treasurer Rita Saffioti’s first budget did little for struggling businesses in the state, says CPA Australia.

Cost of living pressures are undoubtedly hurting households, as well as businesses.

It's regrettable that this year’s budget didn't do more to ease the burden on struggling businesses. While the emphasis on family finances is commendable, a more business-centric budget would benefit all Western Australians as small businesses are significant engine rooms of the economy,” says CPA Australia President and Chair, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Dale Pinto FCPA.

Treasurer Saffioti’s budget brought some sensible cost-of-living assistance for WA households, but the $400 electricity bill credit will hardly make a dent in the annual bills of most small businesses.

Professor Pinto said: “While $400 off their power bills is certainly welcome for small businesses, the truth is that it won't have a significant impact for many, particularly those operating in energy-intensive sectors. Furthermore, we advocate for additional funding for programs aimed at enhancing small business skills to help these businesses grow.”

CPA Australia acknowledges the financial boost to slash green tape and speed up approvals noted in the budget, which will be well-received by our members and their clients.

CPA Australia welcomes the Western Australian government’s plan to incentivise property owners to make more homes available as long-term rentals - rather than following the lead of other states and trying to tax the government’s way out of a housing crisis.

WA Treasurer Rita Saffioti confirmed plans in her budget for an incentive payment of $5,000 for owners of vacant homes in the state to make them available for rent for at least a year.

However, with only $5 million being allocated to the scheme, if successful it would only see a maximum of 1,000 additional properties added to the market.

“It's encouraging to observe a budget that explores incentives rather than penalties as a means to address this complex issue,” said Professor Pinto.

“Governments can’t tax their way out of a housing crisis, so it’s pleasing to see an incentive to encourage more investors to make their properties available for rent.

“Considering the limited funding allocated to the scheme, it's evident that this is an experimental policy. However, if it proves effective in boosting the availability of rental properties, it should be expanded.

"This pragmatic approach merits consideration by other states for their respective markets. While the housing shortage won't be resolved overnight, the introduction of sensible and practical policies to address the issue is highly appreciated.

"In part, the WA government benefits from the flexibility to enact such policies due to its budget surplus. However, what truly counts is the efficacy of policies, regardless of their origin."

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About CPA Australia   

CPA Australia is Australia’s leading professional accounting body and one of the largest in the world. We have more than 172,000 members in over 100 countries and regions. Our core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy. CPA Australia provides thought leadership on local, national and international issues affecting the accounting profession and public interest. We engage with governments, regulators and industries to advocate policies that stimulate sustainable economic growth and have positive business and public outcomes. Find out more at

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