“There’s a range of grants and support services that make it more affordable to invest in your business and achieve an excellent return on investment,” said Brendan Ryan, a director at business advisory firm dVT Group.
“And once the federal election is called, which is widely speculated to be May this year, the grants programs will go on hold, and depending on the election outcome, could all change.”
According to Mr Ryan, that only leaves a short window of opportunity for businesses to lodge their applications for grant funding, or face the prospect of a lengthy wait until the new government, however it looks, reveals its policy agenda around SME support as well as its time frame for implementing any changes.
“SME owners really have until about the end of March before the federal government goes into pre-election caretaker mode, where all grant applications will go on hold until after the election,” he said.
“Then if we have a change to Labor, the program may be completely revamped. So the window of opportunity is short.”
In its budget last May, the government announced a raft of new grants and incentives for SMEs, including $20 million in SME export hubs, a Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants Program for the defence sector worth up to $17 million per year, and an unspecified amount of funding to support the burgeoning fintech sector.
On the flip side, however, the government was late last year accused of trying to change the R&D tax incentive by stealth, after earlier attracting criticism for plans to restrict access to the scheme.