28/07/2016 - 09:39

SME backlash against state government

28/07/2016 - 09:39

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Only 14 per cent of Western Australian small businesses are supportive of the state government’s policies, while they're less confident about the economy than in any other state, according to the latest quarterly survey by marketing group Sensis.

Low business confidence will flow through to wages and employment.

Only 14 per cent of Western Australian small businesses are supportive of the state government’s policies, while they're less confident about the economy than in any other state, according to the latest quarterly survey by marketing group Sensis.

That's while 35 per cent of businesses felt the state government’s policies worked against their interests, for a net score of -21.

More than half felt their was no impact.

Despite this, WA was in good company, with no state government other than New South Wales hitting a positive score.

In terms of confidence, 50 per cent of small businesses were positive while 30 per cent were worried, for a net score of 20.

Although that was almost double the net level in the previous quarter, it was below even South Australia, which jumped out of last place to a net score of 27.

In the lead it was New South Wales again with a net score of 56.

Notably, Perth businesses fared much stronger than those in the regions.

Sensis chief executive John Allan said there was a perception the government favoured big business and miners.

“Despite a slight rise in confidence, Western Australia is now the least confident region,” he said.

“While nationally business confidence is at a five year high, WA business confidence lags well behind, with businesses particularly worried about falling sales and the state recording the lowest profitability score.

“WA businesses were the most likely to access finance this quarter, and along with Northern Territory businesses, they were also the most likely to worry about the economic environment.”

It seems small businesses are feeling the weakness in the economy, too, after WA has endured 10 straight quarters now of negative state final demand growth.

CPI data earlier this year had even suggested a bout of deflation, though yesterday's data suggests it could be a once off figure.

Only 11 per cent of small businesses felt the economy was growing, with 41 per cent believing it is slowing.

That's an improvement on the March data, however.

About 1000 small businesses were surveyed nationally.

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