The key issues which will turn SMEs’ votes at the election: MYOB survey

More than half of Australian small businesses are still dissatisfied with the federal government, and will continue to lobby for key policy issues such as simplifying the tax system and increasing funding for innovation and research prior to the election.

The MYOB 2013 Business Monitor survey , released today, reveals SME dissatisfaction with the federal government has fallen slightly from 57% in July last year to 54%, but has risen significantly among smart-ups.

When it comes to satisfaction with government support, 51% of start-ups said they were not satisfied, an increase of 12 percentage points since last July.

The most recent report from the ongoing national study surveyed 1,005 business owners and found only 14% were satisfied with government support.

The survey found there were ten key policy issues which business operators said would help swing their vote in the upcoming September election:

The five most popular were policies which would simplify the GST/Business Activity Statement reporting process, abolishing the carbon tax, more federal government investment in transport, reduction in payroll tax and increased funding skills and traineeships.

MYOB chief executive Tim Reed told SmartCompany issues such as tax simplification which are causing the high levels of dissatisfaction.

“There is a real theme around simplifying red tape, making it easier to be in business, investing in infrastructure to drive productivity in businesses and there is a theme in removing taxes,” he says.

Reed says despite dissatisfaction levels remaining high, the slight fall has been influenced by the current broader economic improvement.

“There is no doubt SMBs look to the federal government to be the steward of the macro-economic environment.  SMBs are quite pragmatic, but they understand the federal government has a direct impact on the economy.

“They are more optimistic now than they were 10 months ago and with this there has been a slight fall in government dissatisfaction. But on a 10 year time frame, confidence is still reasonably low,” he says.

Reed says the inclusion of a call for more training and innovation support is a “regular wish”, but a new call for internet training is surprising.

Reed says the results of this survey are ultimately a call to both political parties to understand the needs of small businesses.

“There are a large number of business owners in the middle camp who are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and they need to show that they understand the challenges facing small businesses,” he says.

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