Majority of small businesses concerned the Turnbull government’s SME policies will not pass in parliament

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New research from MYOB reveals that while an overwhelming number of SMEs view the return of the Turnbull government as positive, only a quarter are confident that the government’s positive policies for the SME sector will pass in parliament.

Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB, has expressed that in order for the government to build confidence in the SME sector, it needs to work “quickly and efficiently” with the Labor Party and cross benches.  

“Our research confirmed 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,” said Reed.  

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.

“The last parliament was a watershed one for small business. 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.”

Interestingly, when asked about political campaigning, three quarters of SMEs felt the Coalition’s campaign had been impacted by ‘Mediscare’, however did not agree that the Coalition vote was boosted by Brexit. 

“There is a broad consensus amongst political commentators that the misleading, some say dishonest, ‘Mediscare’ campaign harmed the government. Our research shows that small business owners agree with this assessment,” Mr. Reed added.

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 per cent disagreed with this statement, two-thirds of SME felt the Coalition needed to do more for the average working Australian. 

“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.

“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. Our survey reinforces the view 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,” said Reed.

Image (sourced): AFR, Stephan Postles