Small business has overwhelmingly welcomed the announcement of a federal election on September 7, saying it brings an end to the uncertainty which has plagued the sector over the past three years.
Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany this morning it is unlikely there will be another hung Parliament, and as a result, “a lot of this uncertainty will dissipate”.
“There are a lot of question marks and concerns, of course, but the election will help to sort a lot of those out.”
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday called the election for September 7, saying “the time has come for the Australian people to decide”.
Various business groups have been calling for an election date since Rudd said he would not necessarily follow the date decided by his predecessor, Julia Gillard.
The groups argue uncertainty over an election date – coupled with the announcement of a September election earlier this year by Gillard – has caused businesses to delay investment and purchasing decisions.
“Why spend $20,000 on something if it’s just going to change?” says Peter Strong.
Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said in a statement the major political parties will be judged on how well they address the challenges facing Australian businesses – including the wind-down of the investment boom and improving productivity.
“Australia faces important long-term challenges in adjusting to the inexorable demographic forces; further globalisation and the continuing emergence of new centres of production,” Willox said.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also said it welcomed the announcement, while the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the election will be a chance to improve business confidence.
“The election provides the opportunity to put this period of minority government, which has failed the business community, behind us,” VECCI chief executive Mark Stone said in a statement.
Peter Strong says given the confusion over the past few weeks, especially over topics such as the fringe benefits tax change, the election will provide businesses with the ability to make investment decisions one way or another.
“Not everything is going to be sorted out straight away, especially if there is a change in government.
“But there is an opportunity for that uncertainty to be fixed up.”