GST bugs WA business: survey

02 June, 2017

Payroll tax, GST and improved access to supply chain opportunities are the top three issues bothering West Australian businesses, according to the latest survey from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI).

CCI’s annual Member Survey for 2017 has found around 60 per cent of WA businesses ranked GST reform among their top concerns for the upcoming year.

Changing payroll tax persisted as the number one issue among CCI’s membership, with around 72 per cent of businesses labelling reform of the state tax a high priority.

CCI Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott said it was no surprise that payroll tax continued to come in as the biggest issue facing the WA business community.

“More than 90 per cent of CCI’s Members are small and medium sized enterprises – these SMEs tell CCI they want to create more jobs, but their businesses simply cannot withstand hitting the $850,000 payroll tax threshold and getting slogged with the extra tax burden,” Ms Willmott said.

“Payroll tax is a tax on jobs that should ultimately be abolished, however – given WA’s woeful budget position and weak jobs market – business is calling for the State Government to maintain the current payroll tax rate and commit to not lowering the threshold. Any increase in the tax burden on business will cost jobs.  

“Independent research has found that lifting the payroll tax threshold by $100,000 would create nearly 900 jobs, so the reverse is true for a threshold drop – making it harder for small businesses to make ends meet would mean jobs are either not created, or worse, are abolished altogether.

“WA businesses also tell CCI that as the collectors of GST in our state, they feel especially hard done by to see their hard-earned tax dollars sent to other states and territories – particularly as the current GST model allows other states to rest on their laurels and not develop their underutilised industries. If other states built up their underdeveloped sectors, more WA GST dollars would stay in the west.

“CCI is calling for GST reform to stimulate national economic growth, help balance the state budget and give business back the confidence they need to invest in their enterprise, grow their operations and create more jobs for workers.”

CCI is WA’s peak business organisation, with 9000 business members who employ over 300,000 people that work across all industries and regions of the state.

Ms Willmott said the annual Member Survey also showed that WA businesses were extremely concerned with facilitating a role for local businesses in industry supply chains.

“Ensuring West Australian businesses can access opportunities on private and public sector works is critical to helping small and medium sized businesses grow and create jobs,” Ms Willmott said.

“CCI looks forward to working collaboratively with prime contractors, SMEs throughout the supply chain and the State Government to ensure the implementation of the WA Industry Participation Plans balances the appropriate level of regulation with achieving the best outcomes for subcontractors and the WA economy.

“CCI has been the voice of WA business for more than 125 years and our annual Member Survey is a unique opportunity for industry to have their say on which legislative and regulatory changes should be at the top of the national and state reform agenda.”

Media contact: Kate Hodges – 0448 928 227