22/10/2020 - 10:18

WA directors upbeat on economy

22/10/2020 - 10:18

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Company directors in Western Australia have become increasingly positive over the past six months in marked contrast to their counterparts in other states.

WA directors upbeat on economy
Angus Armour says the government's extension in relief measures has helped ease anxiety. Photo: AICD

Company directors in Western Australia have become increasingly positive over the past six months in marked contrast to their counterparts in other states.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors' latest survey of director sentiment found that 43 per cent of WA directors feel positive about the state’s economy over the coming year, while 19 per cent feel negative.

The positive reading was up from just five per cent in the last survey in March, when the impact of COVID-19 was starting to hit hard.

Nationally, the director sentiment index remained in pessimistic territory, at minus 37.2 per cent.

The most gloomy directors were in Victoria (80 per cent negative) and Queensland (70 per cent negative).

That was nonetheless better than March, when it was minus 59.6 per cent – the lowest level in more than a decade.

The impact of COVID-19 remained the top issue “keeping directors awake at night” but dropped from 68 per cent to 41 per cent of responses.

The survey showed directors remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the growth prospects for the European and US economies, but are more positive about Asia, especially the Chinese economy.

AICD managing director Angus Armour said the federal government’s decision to extend key relief measures had no doubt played a part in easing anxiety.

This included the JobKeeper scheme, changes to continuous disclosure rules and allowing virtual AGMs.

Directors have once again nominated climate change and energy policy as the policy priorities the federal government should address in both the short and long-term.

“The results serve as a reminder that notwithstanding the challenges of COVID-19, Australia still needs to address the political impasse that is climate and energy policy,” Mr Armour said.

A majority of survey respondents said government spending on infrastructure was too low, despite the federal and state governments both promoting their plans to accelerate infrastructure projects.

The survey was conducted with 1,777 AICD members, with 8 per cent in WA.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options