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The federal budget

The federal government's first budget since entering office offered a sensible yet broad scope, acknowledging the need for a more sustainable future for Australia. The government also recognised the role of small and medium businesses in an economically stable and net-zero future, but whether or not initiatives like the energy efficiency grant program are enough, is up for debate.

Paul Weingarth, CEO and co-founder of Australian fintech startup, Slyp has insights on the role that innovative tech should play in the future of Australian businesses.

“Climate-conscious business leaders across Australia will be breathing a sigh of relief today at the news of Albanese’s energy efficiency grant program. Not only will it offer respite as inflation begins to bite, but it also provides a helping hand for businesses striving to meet net-zero goals.

The program, which offers SMBs a cumulative $62.6 million in funding to reduce energy use and lower bills, shows the new government is willing to walk the talk on environmental matters. More critically still, it gives recipients scope to invest in innovative technologies that will help to future proof their businesses.

While this is a step in the right direction, the government needs to incentivise long-term sustainability beyond reduced energy bills. Without incentivising businesses of all sizes to curb paper production, plastic pollution or fossil fuel use, dreams of a circular economy will quickly fall out of reach. What’s more, by failing to make technologies that digititise these processes accessible for all, innovation and growth will slow and Australia will fall behind the global market.

With the next cohort of bright Australian minds swapping school for the workforce in the next few months, I am positive that the budget’s pledge to provide $47.2 million to support talent in science and technology, including more women in STEM, will help drive the urgency for a future that is both financially and economically sustainable.”

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