Minding our own businesses

Small businesses have reached near record levels of dissatisfaction with the Federal Government, according to MYOB

Minding our own businesses
Minding our own businesses

April 30, 2012

As next week’s Federal Budget draws closer, recent MYOB research has found one in two small to medium (SME) business operators are dissatisfied with the Federal Government’s support for helping businesses succeed.

Over the past two years this proportion has increased significantly, from 38 percent in the March 2010 MYOB Business Monitor report to 52 percent in the March 2012 report.

The latest result was lower than the highest level of performance dissatisfaction recorded by the study – 56 percent in October 2011 and July 2008.

Only 11 percent of respondents say they were satisfied with the support provided and 36 percent were neutral on the subject.

The low level of satisfaction reported by SMEs was closely aligned with the level of respect they felt the Federal Government showed.

More than half of the survey respondents (51 percent) claim the government demonstrated a high level of disrespect towards businesses like theirs.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says small to medium business operators’ dissatisfaction with Federal Government support remains high.

"The good news for the government is that it has decreased since our previous report, published in October 2011," he says.

"Our political leaders have a full agenda over the next few months – the carbon tax introduction, the pending 650 percent rise in the instant asset write off threshold, a significant realignment of all income tax rates including the increase in the tax free threshold, and a pending reduction in company tax rates for SMEs that are incorporated.

"Many changes will be good for many small businesses, but they must plan well if they are to capitalise on the opportunities. It will be interesting to see later in the year if the policies strike a chord with them."

Election votes up for grabs

Making business life easier by reducing the paperwork burden and investing further in city transport infrastructure were among the top political initiatives that would turn SMEs’ election votes towards the party that proposed them. The top five initiatives were:

1. More Federal Government investment in transport infrastructure in major states and cities – 68%

2. Policies that significantly simplify the GST/BAS reporting process – 67%

3. The abolition of the carbon tax – 61%

4. Increased government funding for innovation research and development by Australian businesses – 60%

5. Introduction of a ‘Buy Aussie Made’ policy for all central and local government procurement where possible – 60%

The top five initiatives that would turn business owners’ votes against the party that proposed them were:

1. The sale of state assets to assist reducing government debt levels – 54%

2. The introduction of a heavy transport fuel levy – 50%

3. The creation of a common currency and economic zone with New Zealand – 39%

4. The adoption of Andrew Wilkie’s proposed poker machine reforms – 33%

5. The abolition of the intended rise of the Superannuation Guarantee Levy from 9% to 12% over the next four years – 32%

"Transport related issues feature heavily in the top rungs of the SME voting ladder, which concurs with our Business Monitor finding around the major pain points business owners say they are facing in the next year. Fuel prices ranked above all others, followed closely by cash flow and interest rates," Mr Reed commented.

"If either party is looking to turn the tide of sentiment firmly towards them, they should at the very least look to improve business transport conditions and simplify the red tape that requires operators to spend extra time on admin that they could be spending on developing their business."

Satisfaction with State Governments

Fewer than half the SMEs were content with their State Government’s performance. When asked ‘How satisfied are you with your State Government’s performance in the last six months in terms of making things better, rather than worse, for your business’, 51% of business owners expressed high levels of dissatisfaction – a slight increase on the 50% in the October 2011 Business Monitor report.






Very dissatisfied






Quite dissatisfied












Quite satisfied






Very satisfied






Don't know






*Note: TAS, NT and ACT were excluded from the above table (though were in the national figures), as they accounted for only 38 respondents. Also note that the survey was completed before the recent QLD election.

Business owners who were quite or very satisfied accounted for 15%, while 33% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 1% simply didn’t know. This compared to 14%, 34%, and 2% respectively in the previous MYOB Business Monitor.

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