Dissatisfaction guaranteed

Transport sector SMEs remain dissatisfied with the Federal Government, with the call still on to abolish the carbon tax

Dissatisfaction guaranteed
Dissatisfaction guaranteed

July 31, 2012

Research released by accounting and business software provider MYOB reveals almost three in five small to medium business operators were dissatisfied with the Federal Government’s support for the business community.

In the March 2010 MYOB Business Monitor, dissatisfaction was felt by just 38 percent of respondents, while the July 2012 report saw it rise significantly to 57 percent.

This is the highest level of dissatisfaction recorded since MYOB research began in March 2004 and a rise of five percentage points within three months of March 2012’s report.

The proportion of the 1,004 surveyed business owners and managers who were satisfied with government support was low at 17 percent, but had increased from 11 percent in March.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says recently introduced Federal Government policies appear to have not yet struck a chord with SMEs.

"The tax loss carry-back scheme is generally seen as positive, but the carbon tax is deeply unpopular amongst business owners," Reed says.

"It is difficult to know if these factors are driving their negative view of the government, or whether it is simply that many businesses are doing it tough.

"Our latest research found few are seeing any improvement in their revenue and most lack confidence in any short term recovery."

But Reed says with challenges come opportunities.

"Business managers who continue to innovate and look for new ways to take advantage of opportunities may be able to improve their situation," he says.

"For example, the tax-free threshold increase to $18,200 should encourage more part-time workers to return to the workforce.

"This could be an opportunity for businesses to improve the skills of their team, and getting online is also a great way to attract new customers."

Respondents in transport, postal and warehousing sectors were the most dissatisfied with Federal Government support (75 percent), followed by those in finance and insurance (68 percent) and agriculture, forestry and fishing (58 percent). Business, professional and property services operators were by far the most satisfied (29 percent).

When comparing results by length of time in business, those in established ventures were the most dissatisfied with its support (70 percent) and those in start-ups were the most satisfied (33 percent).

Respondents gave some support to the tax loss carry-back scheme introduced in this year’s Federal Budget, and while 16 percent felt it would assist in keeping their business afloat, 25 percent felt it would help maintain their current level of business activity.

However, 22 percent would welcome it but don’t really need it, 14 percent didn’t know and 10 percent didn’t care either way. The remaining 13 percent say the government should spend its time on other initiatives.

Almost half (49 percent) of medium sized business operators believe the scheme would help maintain their current business levels. However, as business size decreased so did optimism in the scheme with 27 percent of small businesses believing the scheme is of value, 25 percent of micro businesses saying such, and just 24 percent of sole operators in support.

More than a quarter (26 percent) of start-ups say the carry back scheme would help keep their business afloat, compared to 11 percent of those in established businesses. The latter were more likely to say the Federal Government should spend its time on other initiatives (20 percent).

SUBHEAD: State Government satisfaction rises

Fewer than half of those surveyed (49 percent) were dissatisfied with their State Government’s efforts to make things better rather than worse for their business in the last six months. This was a slight drop from the 51 percent reported in the March 2012 report and well behind the peak dissatisfaction recorded in June 2008 (63 percent).

Although just 16 percent were completely satisfied with their State Government’s performance, this was a slight increase on the 15 percent in the previous MYOB Business Monitor survey. Steady at 33 percent were those neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the states.

Queensland business operators were the most dissatisfied (56 percent), even with new Premier Campbell Newman taking office since the last survey.

However, Queensland business operators’ level of dissatisfaction had dropped noticeably from 68 percent in the March 2012 report to 56 percent, but still the highest result of any state.

Queensland’s satisfaction levels were the lowest of any state at 9 percent, compared to 12 percent in the last report.

South Australians at 55 percent were also highly dissatisfied with their state government.


In a new question asking for their desired fate for the carbon tax, almost two-thirds of business operators (62 percent) wanted to see it abolished. There was little difference between the proportion of those who wanted it retained, did not care or were unsure (12 to 13 percent each).

About three-quarters of business operators aged 60 and over (72 percent) want to see the carbon tax gone compared to 46 percent of ‘Generation Y’ operators 29 years old and under.

Rural business operators (72 percent) were more in favour of abolition compared to metropolitan operators (55 percent).

Established business operators (69 percent) also wanted to see the carbon tax struck from the books compared to 54 percent of start-up companies.

And the smaller the business, the more the feeling against the carbon tax, with 67 percent of small operators against, compared with 48 percent of medium-sized business against the tax.

But Reed says the carbon tax is now a part of doing business and it does bring some positives.

"Carbon tax-related financial incentives and programs are available to be taken advantage of, such as the increased instant tax write-off for business assets.

"The compensation paid to many households by the government also means this is a good time to be marketing to customers to bring them back to your business."

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook