Small-to-medium business operators (SMEs) have identified simplifying their reporting burdens and abolishing the carbon tax as the keys to driving business growth this year.
SMEs have ranked their top 10 growth-focused polices in the 2013 MYOB business monitor, which tracks SME sentiment towards government.
SMEs ranked policies that significantly simplified the reporting process for the GST and BAS (business activity statements) and reduced paperwork as the most important initiative.
The abolition of the carbon tax was deemed the second most important policy initiative, with 61 per cent of businesses saying it would positively affect their business. This reflects calls from industry and commerce groups for the tax to be removed.
Third on the list was greater federal government investment in transport infrastructure across the states and major cities, with 60 per cent saying it will improve their business management.
Waiving penalty interest charges on late-tax payments for start-up businesses resonated with 58 per cent of respondents, who said it would improve their operating environment.
About 53 per cent rated payroll tax as an important issue, which was a key policy debate in the recent WA election.
Business groups attacked state Treasurer Troy Buswell during the poll for proposing only a small increase in the payroll tax threshold from $750,000 to $850,000.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia has called for a reduction in the tax and a substantial lift in the threshold.
Half of businesses also believed the federal government should make spending cuts a priority to help return the budget to surplus more rapidly.
MYOB chief executive officer Tim Reed said the survey reflected the many concerns and operational realities of the SME sector.
“Independent business owners and managers continue to call for tax reform, deregulation and the reduction of red tape,” Mr Reed said.
“The significant level of paperwork and compliance required by the government is a common pain point.”
The survey also found that SMEs in WA were the most satisfied with the performance of their state government.
WA businesses had a dissatisfaction level of just 31 per cent towards the state government, the lowest in the nation.
WA recorded the second-highest level of business satisfaction towards state government, with 19 per cent of respondents saying they were satisfied.
WA SMEs are also the most indifferent among the country’s businesses, with 47 per cent saying they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied by the performance of the Barnett government.
But nearly half of the WA businesses surveyed expressed their dissatisfaction towards the federal government, a trend that was mirrored in state surveys around the country.
About 48 per cent said they were dissatisfied by the government’s performance while only 13 per cent expressed their satisfaction in the Gillard government.
SMEs voiced greater satisfaction with state governments than the federal government, with 43 per cent of respondents nationally saying they were dissatisfied with state performance compared to 54 per cent who were dissatisfied by the federal government’s performance.