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Uncertainty looms in face of upcoming election


Half of Australian businesses are worried election policies will impact their operations.

Many small businesses are unaware or unsure if they're eligible for a range of grants and are worried by the upcoming election, according to the Westpac Small Business Report released today.

While 17% of businesses reported they had received a government grant, 43% were unaware of the range of grants available and 78% believe the application process is too difficult to navigate.

With business finance often hard to come by, it seems many small businesses may be missing out on a potential source of funding. It appears working with the government can also help your business grow, with 1 in 5 successful small businesses having received a grant, compared to just 13% of regular businesses.

Not taking things for granted

While more can be done by government to support small business across a range of policies, grant funding should also be a focus, according to Ganesh Chandrasekkar, General Manager of SME Banking at Westpac.

"Our customers tell us that small business tax cuts, less regulation and red tape, and energy policy are a top priority in the upcoming election. The recently announced plans to fast track tax cuts for small business will offer some support; but more can be done to help particularly with grant funding," he said.

"There is a significant number of government grants available but over 40 per cent of small businesses are unaware of what's available and almost 80 per cent say the government grant process is too difficult to navigate. If there is one area which we could boost confidence it is in the areas of grants – both government and corporate – by easing the burden of compliance and complexity so that businesses receive the benefits."

Electing to wait

The upcoming federal election has also caused uncertainty in the small business sector, with two in five small businesses reporting that their decision making is influenced by the looming election, according to the Westpac report.

A majority of small businesses also indicated they will delay decisions rather than bring them forward, and 50% are worried or uncertain about the way election policies will impact their operations.

The more successful the business, the less likely it is to be impacted by the election. 56% of the most profitable businesses reported the election will not affect their timing when it comes to hiring staff, compared to 41% of other businesses. 58% of the most successful businesses also stated the election would not impact equipment purchases, compared to 40% of other businesses.

Despite these concerns, 62% of small businesses indicated that their income had grown or stayed the same, and $530 million is invested by small businesses each month, according to the report.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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