Both sides have finalised their major announcements in the Federal Election campaign, and the two leaders will spend the closing days touring marginal seats and pressing home their respective messages. For the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the focus will continue to be on economic management and responsible management of the Federal Budget.  The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, will continue to draw a contrast between low income earners and the “top end of town”.

Labor has led in every major opinion poll for the last two and a half years and is still the favourite, but the gap has narrowed during the campaign and as polling day draws nearer Coalition insiders are becoming hopeful that they may be able to cling to office.

Here is a summary of the two sides’ major policies and election commitments that will affect business in general, and retail in particular.

Liberal/National Coalition

  • The Coalition is aiming to create 1.25 million jobs over the next five years, including 250,000 new jobs for young Australians and 250,000 new small businesses over the next 5 years.
  • The Coalition expects to pay off government debt by 2029-2030 through year-on-year surpluses, with tax as a share of GDP to be capped at 23.9 per cent.
  • Personal income tax cuts, with tax relief of up to $1,080 for taxpayers earning up to $126,000 a year
  • Fast-tracking the SME corporate tax rate to 25% for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million by 2021-22, five years earlier than previously planned
  • The Australian Business Growth Fund will provide $100 million in funding to back 30-50 businesses each year with annual turnovers between $2 million and $50 million)
  • $2 billion Australian Business Securitisation Fund to increase small business access to competitive finance by providing more funding for small banks and non-bank lenders.
  • The $30,000 instant asset write off scheme, expanded to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.
  • $123 million aimed to support women’s economic security and health services to get more women financially independent and into the workforce.
  • $525 million Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package to strengthen the VET system and provide small businesses with support to take on more apprentices in areas of skills shortage.
  • Manufacturing Modernisation Fund will provide funding of $50 million from Government and at least $110 million from industry. The fund will provide grants to SME manufacturing businesses to modernise, grow and employ more Australians.
  • Future Female Entrepreneurs Program – boosting digital skills and entrepreneurship and providing mentorship to support 55,000 young women to become entrepreneurs.
  • The Business Energy Advice Program, delivering practical advice to help small businesses get better energy deals and increase energy efficiency

Labor Party

  • Labor has confirmed that it will reverse the cuts to Sunday penalty rates for retail in the first 100 days of office.
  • Labor is promising to change the law on the minimum wage so that it will establish a living wage. At this stage there are no details of how the living wage will be calculated.
  • Work with the states to implement uniform national bans on single-use plastic bags and microbeads from 2021.
  • Promising to implement the Australian Investment Guarantee, all businesses in Australia will be able to immediately deduct 20% of any new eligible asset worth more than $20,000.
  • Labor will fund pay increases of 20% to early childhood educators over 8 years from 2020-21 to 2029-30 increasing the average wage of early childhood educators by $11,300 at a cost of $10 billion.
  • Labor will abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission
  • Redirect funding from the Industry Growth Centres and Entrepreneurs Program saving $309 million
  • Establish funding to support and expand Ethical Clothing Australia at a cost of $8 million
  • Labor expects to deliver $87 billion in bigger surpluses than the Coalition over the next decade, with tax receipts to be capped at 24.3%.
  • Labor is expected to save $154 billion through changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax, reforms to discretionary trusts, dividend imputation, superannuation concessions and a further $285 billion in income tax (as promised by the Coalition).
  • Pollution reduction targets of 45% by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.
  • Will establish an Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Innovation Strategy at a cost of $57 million from 2019-2020 to 2022-23.