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Once again tradies were the biggest winners in this week’s federal budget with the government investing $2.8 billion to support Australian apprenticeships.

This figure builds on the $13.3 billion spent on apprenticeships and traineeships since 2013.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the multi-billion dollar investment, spread out over the next five years, will seek to upskill apprentices, reward employers for hiring them, and simplify the current system of incentives, which the government believes is too complex.

“We have already invested $13 billion in skills and training, with a record 220,000 Australians now in a trade apprenticeship – the highest level since records began in 1963,” Frydenberg said.

“We will provide $5000 payments to new apprentices and up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for employers who take them on.”

The government will introduce a new, “streamlined” Australian apprenticeships Incentive system to develop apprentices in “priority trades” which includes refrigeration and air conditioning.

There will be an additional 2500 in-training support places for eligible young apprentices, and expanded access to trade support loans for priority occupations.

Employers will receive a wage subsidy up to $15,000 for each apprentice they take on in a “priority” trade, under a revamped scheme costed at $2.4 billion over the first four years.

Along with refunding of various programs to encourage women into science and technology related careers, the budget has put aside $38.6 million over four years to help boost the number of women in traditionally male trades.

Another winner in this year’s budget is small business.

The government will deliver more than $21 billion in tax cuts to small businesses from 2015‑16 to 2024‑25, with around $2.6 billion flowing in 2022‑23.

This is in addition to providing $1 billion for new technology to encourage small businesses to go digital.

Small businesses with annual turnover less than $50 million will be able to deduct a bonus 20 per cent off the cost of expenses and depreciating assets that support digital uptake.

The boost will apply to eligible expenditure of up to $100,000 per year, incurred from budget night until 30 June 2023.

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