While an overwhelming number of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) view the return of the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as positive, only one in four (27 percent) believe the government can pass legislation in parliament.
New research from MYOB reveals that 43 percent of the sector are not confident that the Turnbull Government will be able to enforce planned legislation, with 66 percent of businesses believing the Coalition could do more for the average working Australian.
“The government needs to work quickly and effectively with the Labor Party and cross benches, to build confidence in the SME sector,” MYOB CEO, Tim Reed, said.
Reed said that many of the policies the government took to the election are popular with small business, but the close election outcome has raised fears that these policies won’t see the light of day.
“Small business policy is often supported by a range of political parties, and given this we urge the government to quickly line up support for this critical legislation,” he added.
The latest SME Snapshot found that when asked what the government can do to address increased dissatisfaction, around half of small businesses suggested that making the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off permanent and accelerate the company tax rate cut proposals for small business would be steps in the right direction (52 percent and 49 percent respectively).
“The last parliament was a watershed one for small business,” Reed adds. “For the first time in over a decade small business was moved to the centre of the policy framework.
“When removing the Minister for Small Business from the Cabinet, the Prime Minister made the point that all cabinet ministers were there to represent small business.
“The Turnbull government has presented policies that support small businesses; we are now looking for the government to pass this legislation.”
When quizzed about political campaigning, three quarters of SMEs (77 percent) felt the Coalition’s campaign had been impacted by ‘Mediscare’, however did not agree that the Coalition vote was boosted by Brexit (71 percent either disagreed or were neutral).
“There is a broad consensus amongst political commentators that the misleading, some say dishonest, ‘Mediscare’ campaign harmed the government,” Reed explained.
“Our research shows that small business owners agree with this assessment.”
The survey also revealed that SMEs were divided as to whether the focus on a strong economy, jobs and growth resonated with voters (38 per cent agreed and 28 percent disagreed with this statement).
“We have to remember that while small business owners are looking for ways the government can eliminate operational pressures, they also support broader measures that benefit the average working Australian,” Reed adds.
“Small business owners are part of the fabric of our communities. They predominantly rely on local residents as customers and employees. They are very attuned to what their community feels, and what their concerns are.”
Reed said that while the small business segment is supportive of the Coalition government, to retain this support the onus is on the government to explain “why their policies are good for average Australians”.
“Small businesses appear to be waiting to see how the government works towards positive progress for the sector in the coming months, and business owners will be basing their assessments of the Coalition’s capability on actions rather than promises,” Reed added.