Small business owners promised thousands in savings
Businesses struggling to make ends meet will be able to claim tens of thousands of dollars in tax incentives to drive down power bills and boost productivity.
Small business minister Julie Collins says they are "the lifeblood of our economy" and hopes the new measures will provide them with targeted, responsible support without adding to inflation.
Energy bill relief and tax asset write-offs will help tackle immediate challenges while investments in cyber security and cutting red tape aim to set up small businesses in the long term, she says.
But Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the budget missed the mark and failed to set up the economy for long-term success.
"The government's chosen to go down a path of largely one-off sugar hits and band-aids aimed at households rather than trying to address issues around productivity investment, job creation and growth," he told AAP.
While he welcomed strengthening the skilled migration system, Mr Willox was disappointed by significant cuts to business development policies, including the entrepreneurs' program for small business growth and the export market development grant program.
The head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew McKellar, praised the government's investment in skills and training.
While tangible progress was made in the process of budget repair, a lot of heavy lifting remains to be done, he told reporters.
In terms of immediate relief, one million small businesses will be eligible for up to $650 in power bill rebates from July, as part of a $3 billion relief package split with the states and territories.
The package will also be available to five million households, which can claim up to $500 in relief.
The entire energy relief plan, which includes the bill support and price caps on fossil fuels, is expected to shave 25 per cent off retail electricity prices and 16 per cent off gas prices.
A one year increase to the instant asset write-off threshold will enable businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million to deduct an extra $20,000 off their taxes.
Additional incentives will encourage small businesses to adopt new technologies and guard against the growing threat of cyber attacks.
Up to 3.8 million small and medium-sized businesses will be able to tap into tax deductions on purchases that bring down electricity prices and reduce emissions for one year from July 1.
The $310 million investment will allow businesses to deduct up to $20,000 extra per item to encourage upgrades to more efficient goods and electrification of assets, such as energy-efficient fridges and electric heating systems.
A new $392 million program to support small businesses to develop new products and services and $23.4 million in cyber resilience will further incentivise innovation.
The money will help train in-house "cyber wardens" to guard against security threats after several high-profile data breaches targeted Australian companies, including Medibank, Optus and Latitude Finance.
Red tape is also in the firing line, with the government promising to reduce the time small businesses spend doing taxes.
Five additional tax clinics will be set up starting in 2025 to help small businesses without easy access to professional tax assistance.