The Federal Budget dominated the news this week, where they set out their expenditure & support plans for the next 12 months & looking ahead over 4 years. With all budget announcements, there are winners & losers, and I am not going to go through them all – see the ASBFEO budget update below. With regard to small business, AACS is grateful for the leadership demonstrated by the Treasurer, Energy Minister, and Small Business Minister in supporting our small business members. Their commitment to implementing the $20,000 instant asset write-off, tax deductions for energy use reduction through equipment and solar installations, and cybersecurity training support will help our members. These measures reflect the proactive and collaborative approach that our industry and the Australian public expect from their government, and we applaud their dedication to support our members.
In contrast, after a significant announcement on the crackdown on illegal vaping products 2 weeks ago by the Federal Health Minister, we were expecting significant funding allocated to bolster up Border Force, as well as significant funding to support state & territory enforcement of illicit tobacco & illegal vape operators. Upon review of the Budget Papers, it is clear that outside of the 5% tax being implemented on tobacco each year for the next 3 years that will generate $3.3 billion, there is effectively next to no funding that has been allocated to tackle the root cause to address this significant problem.
With regard to funding allocated to tackling tobacco, vaping & border enforcement:
- Border enforcement funding to be reduced by $600 million over the next 4 years
- $13.3m allocated over 4 years for legislative reform, testing of tobacco for prohibited ingredients, increase inspections of manufacturers, importers, wholesalers & retailers, and to communicate changes to stakeholders.
- Smoking & vaping cessation activities ($29.5m over 4 years)
- Public health information campaign on vaping & tobacco control $63m over 4 years
- Tackling Indigenous smoking program & extension to vaping – $141m over 4 years
After such a big warning of a crackdown & removing the black market, the Government has essentially allocated absolutely no funding to deliver on increased border catchment & retail enforcement.
I will continue to work with the Federal & State Governments to direct increased funding into tackling the illicit tobacco & illegal vaping market that continues to significantly impact our retail members.
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