SMBs confident in the economy but not government policies: Sensis Business Index

Elizabeth Barry 6 February 2018 NEWS

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Small businesses haven't been this confident about the economy since December 2010.

The latest Sensis Business Index Survey (SBI), a quarterly survey of 1,000 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across Australia, found almost 29% believe the economy is growing. However, they may not believe this is due to supportive government policies, with business views of the Federal Government becoming negative for the first time since March 2017.

Just 17% of businesses surveyed said Federal Government policies were supportive, a drop of 1%, and respondents saying government policies work against small businesses increased from 15% to 20%.

According to Sensis CEO John Allan, access to small business finance may be causing the drop.

“Small businesses are telling us that access to finance was more difficult than last quarter, or at this time last year – decreasing 12 points to a net balance of +1, 14 points lower than December 2016,” he said.

Small businesses in the Northern Territory are having the hardest time getting access to finance, returning a score of -10. This was followed closely by Western Australian SMBs (-8) and Queensland (-2). Businesses in Victoria led the country in access to small business finance, reporting a score of +10.

Despite this, only 15% of businesses surveyed believe the economy is slowing. The results of this Sensis survey found SMB's assessment of the economy to be at the highest level since December 2010.

“Small and medium businesses' positivity about the economy continues its trend upward since June last year," said Allan. "Small businesses are telling us that the values of sales, prices charged and profitability are the areas they are most positive about in the year ahead.”

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