Each year in Australia’s capital, an event takes place that’s shrouded in great secrecy: the Federal Budget Lockup. In a unique privilege, Xero was invited to Old Parliament House to gain an understanding of how Budget 2020/21 will affect its customers. As Small Business Advocate (and one of Xero’s resident Canberrans), I was lucky enough to make the guest list. And I’d like to invite you inside…

The two-hour lockup is designed to allow industry and media stakeholders the opportunity to gain access to the Budget before the Treasurer’s speech at the House of Representatives. Traditionally held on the second Tuesday in May, thanks to the general chaos of 2020, this year, we were gathered together in early October. 

Upon entry to Old Parliament House, our identification was cited and any devices capable of transmission confiscated, before myself and the 39 other attendees were corralled into a holding room. 


In this series, we uncover honest personal accounts of the heartbreaks, trials and triumphs that have made up 2020. By charting the full scope of the small business experience, together we stand to come back stronger than ever.

Breathe. This is the sign that greets visitors at Melbourne’s I Am That yoga studio, lit up neon-bright by the entrance as a gentle reminder to pause for a moment. In the months since it was secured to the wall, co-owner Victoria Csarmann has seen her business’ carefully laid plans upended entirely.  

Amongst all of the chaos, it has been a mantra that she has turned to countless times since: just breathe, slowly, deeply. “This whole experience has been equal parts scary, heartbreaking and encouraging. We’ve been through everything.”

Letting go of what could’ve been and looking towards the future

From January, what now feels like a lifetime ago, she and

The challenge set for the Treasurer in this Budget was to deliver a plan to jumpstart the economy out of hibernation, by encouraging jobs, investment and household spending.

This Budget certainly featured many announcements aimed at encouraging hiring, investment and spending. The Government’s task now is to encourage businesses and households to take advantage of the new programs to deliver stronger economic growth and more jobs. 

The three pillars of the Budget, that will underpin jobs, investment and household spending are:

  • Significant personal income tax cuts (paid early)
  • JobMaker Hiring Credit for businesses employing new staff under 35
  • Immediate write off for any business assets purchased from 7:30PM last night

Income tax cuts designed to support spending

The centerpiece of the Budget were the personal income tax cuts, including the continuation of the Low and Medium Income Tax Offset, which will flow to more than 11 million taxpayers. The