Only half of SMEs back Liberal party

Report reveals 50 per cent of SMEs think Liberals would improve support for small business operators

Only half of small to medium enterprises believe a Liberal government would do a better job to support business, a new report has revealed.

The August 2013 MYOB business monitor report, which surveyed 1022 SMEs, found 50 per cent believed the Liberals would improve support for small to medium business, with 29 per cent saying it would do “a lot” better and 21 per cent “a little better”.

However, 28 per cent think the Liberals would do a similar job and 18 per cent indicated it would do a worse job.

Liberal Party support was highest among those over 65 years of age with 52 per cent believing they would do 'a lot better' and 21 per cent among younger Gen-Y voters.

Further, 44 per cent of SME’s said they had the most trust in the Liberals to appropriately manage the economy (56 per cent of over 65's). While 18 per cent had more trust in Labor (37 per cent of Gen-Y business operators).

Unsurprisingly, 26 per cent of business operators said they didn't trust any party. Nationals, Greens and "Other" had less than 5 per cent apiece.

But in a bright spot for Labor, the report showed a high level of support for changes to the business activity statement reporting process (67 per cent). This follows Labor’s proposal to allow businesses to submit statements once a year, instead of every quarter.

Council of Small Business Australia executive director, Peter Strong, said he was surprised only 50 per cent of business operators believed they would be better off under a Liberal government.

“I am surprised that the figure is so low,’’ he said. “One of the things I have always said is small business is a very diverse group and we are so busy we often don’t have time to study the political landscape.”

Mr Strong cited red tape, penalty rates, the high cost of labour and rent, among with the domination of Coles and Woolworths as major bugbears, but was pleased the sector was getting some recognition in the lead up to the September 7 poll.

``We have never had the parties talking about small business so much,” he said.

Australian Computer Society CEO Alan Patterson called on both parties to give more support to ICT industry.

“Regardless of who forms Government after the Federal Election, support for ICT skills, better data on the digital economy and improved digital literacy will be key policy areas that the Commonwealth should focus on if they are to provide greater support to SME’s,” he said.