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In The News: Small business dark on WA govt

THE Carpenter government’s approval rating among small and medium enterprises has fallen, making it the second lowest ranked state or territory government across Australia, a business survey has found. The Business Index survey, undertaken quarterly by Sensis to track and understand the views of small businesses, reported that support for the Western Australian government fell 5 percentage points, taking the indicator to 22 per cent. The only state beaten by WA was New South Wales, which has come in at the bottom of the ladder for the 17th successive quarter. Overall, only 11 per cent of SMEs believe the WA government’s policies support the sector, while 33 per cent believe its policies work against them and 56 per cent believe they make no difference. The key reasons SMEs gave for not supporting the WA government include a perception there is too much bureaucracy, taxation and stamp duty. The Northern Territory government recorded the highest approval rating from SMEs, making it the only government in Australia to record a net positive result. The survey also found that WA businesses are continuing to perform strongly, in contrast to a marked downturn in other states. Only 12 per cent of WA SMEs are worried about their prospects, and 67 per cent are confident. Report author Christena Singh said there had been a significant downward shift in trading conditions and optimism among most small businesses since February. The survey interviewed 1,800 businesses across Australia. Rebecca Lawson

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