Federal budget brings improvements to print

Hagop Tchamkertenian, national manager for policy and government affairs at Printing Industries says that household consumption, a key driver of economic activity in the printing industry, was forecast to grow at 3.5 per cent over the next two financial years.

He says, “The bad news is that underlying inflation is forecast to increase over the next two financial years and wage growth is also forecast to increase over the same timeframe.

“If as expected interest rates start to increase than the Australian dollar will remain high relative to the major global currencies.

“A strong currency provides certain benefits to the printing industry due to the fact that most of the raw materials and technology utilised by the industry is imported.”

Tchamkertenian continues that the downside is the loss of competitiveness of printing exports and import competing segments of the industry.

A Printing Industries summary of the budget includes:

  • Regional printing businesses are expected to benefit from the immigration measures such as the increased skilled migrant category and those pertaining to 457 visas.
  • Another area that may interest printing businesses relates to the introduction of wage subsidies for the long term unemployed and people with disabilities.
  • In the area of national training system reforms the establishment of the National Workforce Development Fund to provide $558m over four years to support training and workforce development in areas of current and future skills need also represents an opportunity for the printing industry.
  • The Accelerated Australian Apprenticeship Package to support the delivery of competency based progression through apprenticeships may also turn out to be a beneficial measure for the printing industry.
  • Phoenix activity has been a critical issue for the printing industry in recent times and in a welcome move the Government has announced that it will be strengthening the tax law to counter fraudulent phoenix activity.
  • To help improve business cash flow, the government has announced that commencing from 2012-13, small business will be allowed to claim up to $5,000 as an immediate tax deduction for motor vehicles.
  • One of the budget leaks was confirmed when the government announced that it will reform the current “statutory formula” method for determining the taxable value of car fringe benefits by replacing the current statutory rates with a single rate of 20 per cent that applies regardless of the distance travelled.

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