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Business cheers investment but says restrictions still the issue

Business

The Government’s $1 billion investment scheme has been cheered by the business community.

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But there were warnings the funds would be maximised by the end of the pandemic restrictions.

The Government announced $500 million fund for small to medium-sized businesses as well as a renewable investment fund of $500 million.

It has also signaled that it was willing to buy a stake in the sell-off of the Dalrymple Bay coal terminal, near Mackay, a decision that indicated it was no longer shying away from the coal sector, which could be vital in the upcoming election.

The renewable fund adds to its recently announced policy to subsidise wind, solar and hydro projects and establish three renewable energy zones in the state.

The funds would allow CS Energy, Stanwell, and CleanCo to invest in generation, storage and transmission project. It will be up to the industry to present investment opportunities to the Government.

The Clean Energy Council’s Kane Thornton said the funding would be a shot in the arm for clean energy investment in Queensland, which has otherwise slowed since the start of 2019.

“Queensland has some of the best renewable energy resources in Australia and stand-out potential to become a clean energy powerhouse. We welcome the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to placing ‘a clean recovery’ at the centre of its strategy for economic recovery,” he said.

The Government also said there would also be an extension of the payroll tax waiver, land tax rebate and rent relief which the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said would provide some additional immediate relief for business.

“Especially welcomed is the new investment fund which will give Queensland’s small and medium businesses opportunities to scale-up, diversify and grow as it is business who holds the key to Queensland’s economic recovery,” CCIQ economist Jack Baxter said.

“However, to maximise these investment and stimulus measures, there needs to be further easing of restrictions to allow businesses to open up and operate at more viable levels.

“The new Backing Business Investment Fund is a positive step forward in supporting business to scale up and grow, and we will be looking forward to more details on how the fund will operate.

“The Treasurer also spoke of Queensland’s diversified economy with the extent of losses softened by primary producing industries.

“However, it is argued that Queensland’s reliance on primary industries in the past has resulted in overlooking necessary policy changes and support required for small businesses that were confirmed to be amongst the hardest impacted by the crisis.

“What we now need to see more on is how the Government plans to manage the health crisis without adding harm to service-based industries which the Treasurer confirmed as being the hardest hit,” said Mr Baxter

CCIQ’s priorities for the upcoming election include transforming Queensland’s economy for resilience, efficiency and productivity, that will drive a more diversified small business sector.

To be able to attract the $500 business investment fund, businesses would have to be small or medium-sized, based in Queensland or create Queensland based jobs, have a proven product and defined market opportunity, but require significant capital to aggressively build scale or grow market share.

They also have to be relatively mature, well beyond proof of concept and profitable or approaching profitability. They must be seeking capital to expand or restructure operations or enter new markets or financing significant acquisition and they
have well established with reputable owners who are committed to growing the business from and in Queensland.

 

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