The Illawarra Business Chamber has welcomed strong commitments on skills, as well as confirmation of tax measures for small business, outlined by Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten in his Budget in Reply speech tonight.

In his alternative vision for government, Mr Shorten unveiled a $200 billion Rebuilding TAFE fund focused on regional Australia and committed to funding 100,000 TAFE places, of which 20,000 will be for aged care and disability support workers.
 
There was welcome support for apprenticeships, including a planned increase to the payment for employers who take on an apprentice to $8,000, and $2,000 for new apprentices to help cover some of the costs of their education.
 
Mr Shorten reiterated his support for tax relief for small and medium businesses and announced an extra 20 percent tax reduction for every business that invests in productivity-boosting equipment above $20,000.
 
“Illawarra businesses will welcome measures to support vocational education and apprenticeships in the Opposition’s budget reply this evening, particularly in the key sectors of aged care and disability support,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
 
“It is good to see bipartisan commitment to reducing the tax burden on small-to-medium businesses, which has already seen the passage of the instant asset write off scheme through parliament today,” he said.
 
“I’m looking forward to examining the business credentials of both major parties tomorrow at our federal Budget Luncheon which will feature Craig James (Chief Economist, CommSec) and David Apolo (Partner, KPMG Australia).”