Small and medium-sized businesses are worried about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme on the eve of this year’s federal budget, according to a SmartCompany poll.
The anonymous, online poll was open to all SmartCompany readers with 122 respondents.
Of those polled, 40% said the proposed paid parental leave scheme was the major item they were worried about in tomorrow’s budget. The next items SMEs were most concerned about were the increase in the pension age, followed by the mooted deficit tax on people earning more than $80,000 a year.
“No paid parental leave,” one reader said. “I didn’t get it and raised three kids.”
SmartCompany readers also raised the potential loss of funding for Commercialisation Australia and export support as key concerns for SMEs.
For one reader, anything in the budget that has the potential to further weaken Australia’s international competitiveness is a worry.
“We are the least competitive, most expensive economy in my opinion,” the reader says.
“We have to change that. Employment and other business costs have to come down a lot and soon.”
Of those surveyed, 27% want to see a reduction in red tape in the budget and 22% want to see increased spending on infrastructure.
The other key items on the wish list of SMEs for the budget are increased spending on training and apprenticeships, tax concessions for industry research and development and a reduction in company tax.
Not so important for SMEs are bringing the budget back to surplus and greater flexibility in workplace relations.
“A lighter touch from the Australian Tax Office and more support for small businesses,” one SmartCompany reader says.
“Less concessions given to mining and big business – who are we fooling, we know they can afford it and our stability still makes Australia attractive to the internationals,” another says.
Of those surveyed, 63.9% were in a small to medium-sized business, 22.7% were self-employed and 13.4% were in larger businesses.