SMEs retain positive outlook; VECCI’s election wish list: Midday Roundup

Australian small businesses remain positive about their performance this quarter, according to the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Small Business Index.

The index rose 3.8% to 123.9 this quarter, up from 119.4 in February, with a sharp sentiment lift of 22.7% in Queensland accounting for much of the rise. New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia all saw minor declines.

While the index results show small businesses are more optimistic about their performance now than they were three months ago, falling consumer confidence has been flagged as a possible issue over the next quarter.

“Households may wind back some spending [and] that will have a direct impact on small business,” says Westpac’s global head of economics Bill Evans.

VECCI launches early election campaign

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry has launched its pre-election campaign, lobbying the state government for a number of business-related reforms.

The ‘Taking care of business’ campaign calls for a lift in the payroll tax threshold to $850,000, the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, increased VET funding in schools as well as a $75 million boost to the state’s international engagement strategy.

“Victoria’s potential will not be realised without policies that drive greater investment, confidence and business activity,” said VECCI chief executive Mark Stone in a statement. “A strong business sector means a financially healthier Victoria.”

Shares down on open

Aussie shares are slightly down this morning, ahead of uncertainty surrounding today’s RBA policy meeting.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 10 points to 5508.5 at 12:10pm AEDT. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 26.46 points up, rising 0.16% to 16,743.6.


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