SMEs voice dissatisfaction with state governments as South Australia and Tasmania prepare to go to the polls

 

As South Australia and Tasmania prepare to go to the polls this weekend, dissatisfaction with the state governments amongst SMEs has intensified.

A survey of 1032 business operators conducted by the MYOB Business Monitor reveals more than half of South Australian SMEs are dissatisfied with the state government’s efforts to make things better for their business.

The research published yesterday shows 51% of South Australian SMEs are dissatisfied with the incumbent Labor government, the highest level of dissatisfaction in Australia. 

Nationally, 36% of SMEs are dissatisfied with their respective state government’s efforts to make things ‘better rather than worse’ for their business over the past six months.

Sentiment about State Government

National

NSW

VIC

QLD

SA

WA

Dissatisfied

36%

29%

34%

39%

51%

48%

Satisfied

23%

24%

26%

25%

18%

17%

Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied

39%

46%

38%

35%

29%

33%

Don’t know

1%

1%

2%

1%

2%

2%

*Note: TAS, NT and ACT were excluded from the above table (though were in the national figures), as their sample sizes were too small.

 

The research found the top five pressures keeping South Australian SMEs up at night are fuel prices, interest rates, price margins and profitability, competitive activity and cash flow. 

Business SA policy director Rick Cairney told SmartCompany, in line with the MYOB research, SMEs appeared to be fed up with the incumbent Labor government.  

“The majority of our members are SMEs and we have over 5000 members. One of our major problems is too much red tape, too much compliance and the high business taxes,” he says.

“What SMEs are seeing is that there is some light.”                                

Cairney says South Australia has some of the highest business taxes in the country and the opposition is saying it will increase the threshold for payroll tax from $600,000 to $800,000.

This is a move backed by Business SA, although Cairney says “it’s not as far as we’d like them to go”, as the threshold in Queensland for payroll tax is $1 million.

“Clearly what our members also want is a majority government; they don’t want a minority government,” he says.

Tasmania is also holding a state election this weekend and Tasmanian Small Business Council executive officer and Liberal Party candidate Robert Mallett says local SMEs have turned against the incumbent Labor government.

“From a personal point of view out there on the hustings, in Tasmania in particular there is a mood for change,” he says.

“The small business people are shaking their heads and saying they can’t do this any longer.”

Mallett says Tasmanians were prepared to try a power sharing arrangement but it doesn’t seem to have worked in the state. 

“Small business people want to see change so a government can say this is what we are going to do and someone gets on and does it,” he says.

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