11th May, 2021

Federal Budget 2021 — targeted spending to create jobs

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has placed job creation at the top of the 2021 Federal Budget agenda, launching initiatives that are expected to increase employment levels in Australia’s key industry sectors.

In what could be the Coalition’s final budget release before a federal election, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has committed billions of dollars to “keep the momentum going” as Australia continues along the road of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key takeaways:

  • $20.7 billion in tax relief to be delivered to businesses to drive business investment and job creation.
  • Nationwide infrastructure projects to create 30,000 jobs over a ten-year period
  • Government confirms $1.2 billion investment into the Digital Economy Strategy
  • Agriculture, manufacturing and science to receive additional funding (see details below)
  • Building Better Regions initiative to receive additional funds that are expected to drive job creation.

In his address to Parliament, Frydenberg lauded his government’s efforts in creating almost half a million jobs since his last budget release in October of 2020, successfully bringing unemployment rates down to 5.6 percent – lower than their pre-pandemic levels.

Despite these optimistic numbers however, the Treasurer referred to the 2021 Budget as a plan to “secure Australia’s economic recovery” through the creation of additional jobs, driving unemployment rates towards under five percent.

“[This Budget is] a plan that continues to protect Australians from COVID, a plan that creates more jobs, a plan that guarantees essential services, and a plan that builds a more resilient and secure Australia,” he said.

Nationwide infrastructure measures

In a pledge to create 30,000 new jobs over a 10-year period, Treasurer Frydenberg confirmed that his government would be allocating an additional $15.2 billion to infrastructure projects across the country, adding to the government’s $110 billion 10-year infrastructure investment pipeline.

These additional funds will see the launch of the new Melbourne Intermodal Terminal, Greater Western Highway in New South Wales, Bruce Highway upgrades in Queensland, North-South corridor in South Australia, further stages of METRONET rail in WA, and other highway upgrades in NT and Tasmania.

Funds are also being placed towards the government’s Road Safety Program, with the initiative being extended into the 2023 income year, and an additional $1 billion in funding being allocated toward safety-driven road upgrades.

Industry specific measures

Following previous announcements, the government is targeting funding towards industry’s most in need of support during the economic recovery, which includes tourism and aviation which will receive a $1.2 billion package to ‘keep planes in the air, safeguard jobs and encourage Australians to explore their own backyard’.

This includes $274.6 million in support for travel agents, tour operators, business events, zoos and aquariums.

Other job creation measures announced in this Budget included additional funds being allocated to the agriculture sector, with millions to be spent in the development of new dams and other irrigation projects, and soil and pest management.

To boost employment growth in key economic areas, the government will be investing additional funds into manufacturing, reducing friction in supply chains, medical technologies, and artificial intelligence.

Stronger regions

Job creation in regional Australia also featured in the Budget, with the Treasurer announcing the Coalition’s intentions to launch a sixth round of the Building Better Regions fund by allocating an additional $250 million to the program.

$189.6 million will also be going towards the next five-year plan for ‘Our North, Our Future’ that is expected to drive private investment and job creation in Australia’s north.

In his concluding remarks, Frydenberg said that this budget would secure Australia’s recovery and set the country up for the future.

“Jobs are coming back, the economy is coming back, Australia is coming back, and this budget will ensure we come back even stronger, securing Australia’s recovery,” he concluded.


Want to hear more about what the 2021 Federal Budget means for small business?

See our expert panel featuring the The Hon. Stuart Robert MP, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Dr Craig Latham, Deputy, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and Helen Lea, Chief Employee Experience Officer, MYOB, discuss what the Budget means for your small business (from Friday 21 May at 9:30am-10:15 AEST). View it here today.