Latest Bibby Barometer survey found that small businesses are pessimistic about the outcomes of next month’s Federal Budget, with many hoping, but not expecting, reduced taxation and a cut in red tape.
The key inclusions that small businesses would like to see in the May 14 Federal Budget are reduced taxes for small businesses (51 percent), a reduction in Government red tape (40 percent) and relaxed import and export regulations (20 percent).
Small business decision makers who expect the Budget to hinder small business growth outnumber those that expect it to support small businesses by almost two to one (47 percent versus 25 percent).
Twice as many small business decision makers also think the Coalition winning the upcoming Federal election would be better for business than those who think it will be worse (47 percent versus 23 percent).
“Small businesses want to see more certainty from government addressing the issues facing the sector. For example, the manufacturing sector is contracting, insolvencies are a major concern for retailers due to reduced consumer demand and businesses are concerned about the lack of available funding,” said Gary Green, National Sales Director, Bibby Financial Services.
“As a result many SMEs are in a holding pattern with regard to investment, and have been for some time. Our survey found approximately half (49 percent) intend to maintain their current level of investment over the next 12 months compared to 28 percent who intend to invest more in their business.”
The February Bibby Barometer survey found the majority of business decision makers (86 percent) have experienced cashflow issues in the past year, mainly due to customers making excuses for slow payments (34 percent).
Other problems experienced include issues with government red tape, compliance and tax administration (24 percent), higher costs of credit (24 percent) or limited access to credit (23 percent), and trouble getting payment from large companies or government departments (22 percent). 16 percent of respondents also had difficulties meeting their tax payments on time.
In light of these difficulties, Green believes the Government needs to pay more attention to Australia’s small business sector, particularly by appointing a Federal Minister to represent and address the needs of small businesses.
“The Government needs to listen to the small business sector. Small businesses want to see a Federal Minister appointed that is dedicated solely to the Small Business portfolio. The recent appointment of Western Australian MP Gary Gray as the sixth federal Small Business Minister demonstrates unacceptably high turnover. The small business sector wants and deserves consistency, continuity and certainty,” said Green.