The Federal Budget – Supporting Young Aussies and Startups

With just a handful of hours left until the election, some of the key initiatives proposed for young Aussies and startups in the Federal Budget in May have gotten a little lost in public discussion. This is a shame because make no mistake, this is one budget that is actually designed to help young people succeed.

Among the more positive announcements for SMEs, such as raising the small business threshold from $2 million to $10 million and reducing the company tax rate to 27.5 per cent, there was one announcement that stuck out more than the others:

The plan to incentivise more SME owners to take on young Australians as interns.

The general sentiment is that young people are finding it challenging to secure a job. This may be partially attributed to a misalignment of expectations and approaches. On the one hand, they’re one of the most technologically adept generations in history. But on the other, they’re still being confronted with old school and out-dated processes surrounding finding and landing a job.


Creating new opportunities


As a startup founder myself, I speak with younger Australians all the time who are eager for a job, but who are struggling to find the right fit. And this situation isn’t just evident anecdotally– there’s plenty of hard research showing that young people in Australia are finding it more difficult than ever.

This is why I was so happy to see the proposed new internship program for university students in the Federal Budget. It’s an initiative that is designed to create the space for around 100,000 young people looking to get a foot in the door, and begin a career.

There’s been quite a bit of debate about whether small businesses are going to consider these interns as serious long-term employment potential, or just sending them packing at the conclusion of the internship. This is an important point to raise, and one which merits discussion.

My thoughts, as a business owner myself, are that there’s nothing worse than having a steady stream of staff members moving through a metaphorical revolving door. Bringing on staff costs time, effort and training, and if that job requires any type of skill, it means a lot more effort is required.

We’ve heard it over again that young Australians are looking for ways to get their foot in the door. So what better way to provide this opportunity than by putting them in touch with businesses who need staff? Not only does that help the jobseeker but it’s also in the company’s best interests, as it will save time and effort training up entirely new staff.

Could some business owners exploit these interns? Sure, it’s possible. But I believe that it’s in the best interests of the vast majority to do the right thing. I also think that given the broader opportunities this program represents, young Australians will be in a position to leave any situation where they find themselves being exploited.


Other positive measures


The internship program is only one part of a group of measures that provide startups with the tools they need to succeed, potentially transforming the Australian economy in the process.

Another such proposed measure is the suggestion to extend early stage venture capital limited partnerships from $100 million to $200 million for existing partnerships. New businesses will be able to get much-needed extra cash, and offshore money will be more attracted to local ventures.

From a personal perspective, these changes are great for startups like MoneyMe. By reducing our tax, we can actually spend that money on helping people. Thanks to that tax cut, every startup and business in Australia will be in a better position to achieve their own missions also. Importantly, the flow on effect of this is likely to be more jobs for young people in the long run.

So no matter who wins the upcoming election, let’s hope the focus remains on what matters – giving young Australians the opportunity to participate in the modern, global economy, while helping startups to succeed in Australia.

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