Budget 2023-24: Printers’ reaction split across the announcements

The recent 2023-24 Budget announcement by the Federal Government has caused both positive and negative reaction from the printing community.

The positives: Vista A/NZ CEO Marcus Marchant

Marchant welcomed the “significant funding” towards small businesses, especially as they navigate economic uncertainties.

“It’s fantastic to see significant funding committed to continuing to support small businesses, amid economic turbulence and uncertainty. Small businesses are foundational to our economy and our communities,” he said.

“Vista is the printing partner to hundreds of small businesses in Australia. New incentives like the $100,000 Small Business Energy Incentive will support small businesses in keeping their lights on.”

He also spoke about the instant asset write-off threshold being extended and increased, saying it will offset the cost of equipment – like commercial printers – for small businesses too.

“While these incentives aren’t going to solve all the economic challenges they are facing, they will certainly help. It means that they can ideally continue to spend on print requirements and machinery, without sacrificing a roof over their head,” he said.

Marchant also applauded the Budget’s focus on skills and migration, especially as the print industry increases its focus this year on rebuilding and modernising the skills sector.

“Our own Vista research from earlier in the year echoed that upskilling was a big priority for small businesses in 2023, particularly with technology and automation cited as the most common skill to learn,” he said.

“More than that, with immigration set to surge, printers should see pressure due to labour shortages ease. There’s still a way to go to ease economic strain and skills shortages, but the Budget announcements are very much welcome.”

The negatives: Imagination Graphics owner Emmanuel Buhagiar

According to Buhagiar, he does not believe that the Budget has anything in it for the business man, saying that he doesn’t see any worthy incentives for the industry at all.

“Increasing Job Seeker will only make it harder to find employees, and from what I’m hearing, there is going to be two more interest rate rises. To most, it won’t affect leases but someone like me who is purchasing the property will see rates skyrocket with our monthly repayments,” he said.

Buhagiar also spoke about the flow-on effects of wage rises, saying that it will result in other printing prices to increase.

“As printers, we have seen increases in paper, chemistry, fuel and courier costs, in addition to costs related with ink and rents. I’m sure there will be a wage rise shortly. This means printing prices have to move up, which is always hard to do. The government has given us no relief or benefits,” he mentioned.

“As it is, most printers are finding it hard to flourish at the moment, and I’m sure you are going to see a lot struggle without any relief from the government.”

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