Rose-coloured glasses come off as business views Abbott government in new light: survey

Company directors are losing faith in the Abbott government’s ability to have a positive impact on business and consumer confidence, according to a new survey.

The study from the Australian Institute of Company Directors shows only 30% of directors believe the federal government’s performance is having a positive effect on business decision-making and consumer confidence, compared to 70% at the start of their term.

The survey of more than 500 company directors also shows a concern for tax reform, with 60% of directors believing the level of personal tax in Australia was currently too high.

The survey was conducted from March 31 to April 13, before rumblings of the introduction of a new deficit levy.

Steve Burrell from Australian Institute of Company Directors told SmartCompany although the survey took place before the deficit levy announcement, the government had been flagging a tough budget for some time.

“That certainly fed into the perception for business,” said Burrell.

He said the previous survey took place directly after the election, during a huge upsurge in optimism of what the Abbott government could bring to business and the economy.

“What we are seeing now, is the rose-coloured glasses have come off,” he said.

Burell said the survey respondents were spread across a range of industries, and included Australian chairmen, non-executive directors and executive directors of medium to large public and private sector organisations.

Speaking to SmartCompany on behalf of small business, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia Peter Strong said the findings rang true to the perception of his members.

“The world that we hear a lot is ‘disappointed’,” said Strong, who said taxation reform was at the forefront of concerns for small business.

“Taxation reform is what was promised and what we need,” he said.

The survey also showed more than 80% of directors did not view a budget surplus as a priority in the next three years and only 8% expressed support for the original plan paid parental leave scheme, which has been scaled back since the survey was taken.

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