A new technology and skills-focused approach from the federal budget has been criticised by small business owners as having little impact on recovery after COVID-19 and employment shortages.

Being the third federal budget in the era of the pandemic, it provides business owners with a roadmap to help guide cash flow but measures are yet to meet the needs of business owners.

Tax relief was at the forefront of recommendations from small and medium business (SME) owners after the hardships faced during the past two years. The government is focused on investment, specifically in skills and new technology with a $120 tax deduction for every $100 spent on both skills and new technology.

A 20 per cent bonus deduction will be granted to small businesses for external training courses for employees, offering a tax relief of $550 million ending on 30th of June 2023.

Tutoring and speech therapy business owner Peter Mavromoustakos spoke to Central News.

“We allocate a budget each year ($500 per financial year) for personal development for the therapists and the expenses are quite high in this side of the business,” said Mr Mavromoustakos.

Despite these benefits, Mr Mavromoustakos’s business is still struggling under the burdens of COVID-19.

“As a small business owner, I would like something directed at losing clientele on a week to week or month to month basis if affected by COVID or natural disasters…we have also been hit hard with the rain causing a hole in one of our offices.”

Manny’s Cheesesteak & Pizza owner, Evan Hansimikali also spoke to Central News on the $120 tax deduction on technology.

“To give you an extra 20 per cent, which isn’t a huge amount in my view- I think the issue for small businesses is far more to do with a shortage of labour, increased cost of goods, which have been going on over the last two years.”

Mr Hansimikali expressed further doubts on what the government did not include in this year’s budget to support small businesses.

“They didn’t talk anything about immigration, more students and more people coming into the country to fill the shortage in unemployment,” he said. “There was no mention of whether they were going to be letting more students in or encouraging people overseas to come in and work.”

“I think it’s something that our businesses require and it was sort of overlooked,” Mr Hansimikali told Central News.