SME unease with Federal Government hits three-year high

Small business owners’ ire with the Federal Government has soared to a three-year high, according to a MYOB report, with more than half of Australian SMEs now dissatisfied.


The MYOB Business Monitor Special Report, which is based on a survey of 1,000 Australian business owners, reveals attitudes towards the government are increasingly negative.


According to the report, 56% of small business owners are now dissatisfied with the government, up from 31% in August 2010. It is also the highest dissatisfaction level recorded since June 2008.


MYOB chief executive Tim Reed described business owners as “a very pragmatic group”, suggesting the government can improve these results with some fairly straightforward measures.


“Business owners… go into business because they are passionate about delivering a product or service better,” Reed says.


“They don’t tend to have ideological views, but support clear policies that will strengthen the economy and remove red tape.”


According to MYOB, business owners want immediate action in the following areas:


  • Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process (69%)
  • More government investment in transport infrastructure in major states and cities (66%)
  • Increased funding for innovation, research and development (63%)
  • Introduction of a “Buy Australian made” policy for government procurement (61%)
  • Abolition of the carbon tax (61%)


According to Reed, the Federal Government has a “challenging run” in the lead-up to the next election.


“It needs to shore up business tax revenue shortfalls if it’s to meet its surplus promise, while at the same time stimulate non-mining sector business investment and growth,” Reed says.


“With the carbon tax legislation off the immediate agenda, the Gillard Government can take back the policy initiative and positively respond to the recent tax forum.”


On a state by state basis, the report reveals the NSW government is causing less dissatisfaction that its predecessor, but still has a fairly low level of satisfaction at only 14%.


SME satisfaction with the Queensland government has returned to a reasonably high level (65%), followed closely by South Australia (59%) and WA (54%).


But according to Reed, Australian SMEs are becoming increasing frustrated by the “policy inertia” they are witnessing from all levels of government.


“We call upon all political parties to stop ignoring the SME sector and start developing policies that will genuinely make business life easier,” he says.


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