The federal government released the 2017-2018 budget, focusing on sustainable economic growth, employment and essential services. The new budget seeks to tackle cost of living, build infrastructure and invest in regional Australia.
The plan to deliver this mainly focuses on a combination of tax cuts and concessions for SMEs, which is expected to reduce the burden on as many as 3.2 million small businesses that employ 6.7 million workers, in the hopes that this would have a flow-on effect for wages. As the government has also announced that it intends to abolish 457 visas and replace them with short-term skills shortage visas, this could mean big repercussions for many businesses in several industries, including IT, hospitality and leisure.
Matthew Gribble, regional managing director, Michael Page Australia and New Zealand comments, “The government has put wages and jobs growth as a centrepiece for this year’s budget, promising an increase in the number of jobs and higher salaries. We believe that if these budget measures achieve the stated objectives, it will be encouraging for the employment landscape as we can look forward to the further development of skills and the advancement of Australia’s workforce.”
The financial services and technology sectors are set for changes as the budget proposes a series of measures to encourage innovation in the FinTech industry. This includes new legislation which if implemented, is likely to allow crowd-sourced equity funding, tax concessions for start-ups and angel investors and reducing barriers to licensing of finance firms. The traditional banking sector could see more digital disruption arising from these changes which could subsequently create demand for top finance and technology talent.
Similarly, the manufacturing industry is expected to see more job opportunities for Australians upon the execution of the government’s defence industry plan. This includes a continuous shipbuilding program, which is expected to create 5,200 ongoing advanced manufacturing jobs, with knock-on effects across the supply chain. Likewise, 5,000 jobs are promised with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Some major infrastructure projects have been announced to receive cash injections under this budget, which will likely have a knock-on effect for employment in the construction industry. $5.6 billion has been pledged to create a Western Sydney Airport that would oversee the development of the new airport at Badgerys Creek from the end of 2018. Meanwhile, $10 billion has been promised to the creation of a National Rail Program and an additional $8.4 billion towards a Melbourne-Brisbane rail link, both of which would look to boost regional travel in Australia.
If successful, these plans are positive news for construction industry jobs at all levels. The completion of these projects would also result in the strengthening of technical skillsets which would allow for further development of this industry in the country.
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