Near-Record SME Dissatisfaction with Government

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As the Federal Budget announcement draws near, new MYOB research has found one in two small to medium business operators are dissatisfied with the Federal Government’s support for helping businesses such as theirs succeed.

Over the past two years this proportion has increased significantly, from 38% in the March 2010 MYOB Business Monitor report to 52% in the March 2012 report. However, the latest result was lower than the highest level of performance dissatisfaction recorded by the study – 56% in October 2011 and July 2008.

Only 11% said they were satisfied with the support provided and 36% were neutral on the subject.

The low level of satisfaction reported by SMEs was closely aligned with the level of respect they felt the Federal Government showed. More than half of the survey respondents (51%) claimed the government demonstrated a high level of disrespect towards businesses like theirs.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, “Small to medium business operators’ dissatisfaction with Federal Government support remains high. The good news for the government is that it has decreased since our previous report, published in October 2011.

“Our political leaders have a full agenda over the next few months – the carbon tax introduction, the pending 650 percent rise in the instant asset write off threshold, a significant realignment of all income tax rates including the increase in the tax free threshold, and a pending reduction in company tax rates for SMEs that are incorporated.

“Many changes will be good for many small businesses, but they must plan well if they are to capitalise on the opportunities. It will be interesting to see later in the year if the policies strike a chord with them.”

Election votes up for grabs
Making business life easier by reducing the paperwork burden and investing further in city transport infrastructure were among the top political initiatives that would turn SMEs’ election votes towards the party that proposed them. The top five initiatives were:
1. More Federal Government investment in transport infrastructure in major states and cities – 68%
2. Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process – 67%
3. The abolition of the carbon tax – 61%
4. Increased government funding for innovation research and development by Australian businesses – 60%
5. Introduction of a ‘Buy Aussie Made’ policy for all central and local government procurement where possible – 60%

“Transport related issues feature heavily in the top rungs of the SME voting ladder, which concurs with our Business Monitor finding around the major pain points business owners say they are facing in the next year. Fuel prices ranked above all others, followed closely by cash flow and interest rates,” Mr Reed commented.

“If either party is looking to turn the tide of sentiment firmly towards them, they should at the very least look to improve business transport conditions and simplify the red tape that requires operators to spend extra time on admin that they could be spending on developing their business.”

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