SA election results mean “uncertain” future for business, but Tasmania ready to roll

As the leadership of the South Australian government hangs in the air following Saturday’s election, a key industry group says the worst outcome is “uncertainty”.

With the votes between the Labor and Liberal parties deemed too close to call, a count is underway to determine if one will emerge with a majority.

Following the count of postal votes and absentee voters, the fate of the government could rest in the hands of two independents, Geoff Brock in the seat of Frome and Bob Such in Fisher.

It is expected that counting of the votes will continue this week as several seats remain in the balance.

The ABC reports Labor is forecast to finish with 23 seats, and able to govern with the support of just one independent.

Business SA policy director Rick Cairney told SmartCompany this morning an undecided vote was the “result that no one wanted, including the business community”.

“What we have is uncertainty, and we don’t know who will form government,” he says. “That is the reality and we have to deal with it.”

He says if the decision comes down to the two independents, it is vital they “make a decision without delay”.

He says regardless of which party takes the lead, the important thing is they keep small business on the agenda.

“Ninety per cent of businesses in South Australia employ less than 20 staff,” he says.

“Our surveys show they want a reduction of high taxes on business, less red tape and removal of over compliance.”

Cairney says Business SA put forward 75 recommendations to both parties for reform for small business.

“Whichever party is in government, the agenda for small business has to be the same,” he says.

On Saturday the Tasmanian state election was also held, with the state’s Liberal Party, led by premier-elect Will Hodgman clearly victorious over Labor after 16 years in opposition.

Yesterday, with around 80% of the votes counted, Labor had polled 27% and locked in six of the 25 lower house seats.

Tasmanian Small Business Council executive officer and Liberal Party candidate Robert Mallett told SmartCompany that while he was disappointed not to be elected, he was pleased for the business community that change had arrived.

“My view mirrors the business community, in that there is now a more business-focused majority government,” he says.

He says Tasmania needs big businesses to regain confidence in the state as a place to invest, and this in turn will help smaller businesses to grow.

“We will soon start to see money in the pockets and bigger investors knocking on the door,” he says.

“It is a sign that Tasmania is now open for business.”

Mallett thinks one of the first duties of the new government in relation to business will reflect the agenda of the federal government, in terms of cutting red tape, compliance and approvals processes that slow down investment.

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