Political disconnect: Small business owners can’t name PM or Minister for Small Business

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Political disconnect: Small business owners can’t name PM or Minister for Small Business
  • 75 per cent of small business owners can’t name the minister for small business
  • 15 per cent cannot name the current PM
  • Nearly two in five (38 per cent) of small businesses only “somewhat understand” the policy differences between the two major parties

Ahead of the federal election, a new survey from Xero has revealed an alarming disconnect between small business owners and Australian politics.

15 per cent of business owners surveyed by the cloud accounting solution service were unable to name the current Prime Minister, while a further 75 per cent had no idea of the identity of the Minister for Small Business, Michaelia Cash.

While the results show a distinct disconnect between SMBs and Australian politics, the same small business owners are passionate about a number of issues that have been highlighted by the major and minor parties ahead of the election.

Xero found SMNs are focused on the issues that matter to them and affect their industry or community the most.  Twenty-nine per cent cited rising energy prices as a major concern ahead of the election, closely followed by tax cuts (28 per cent) and climate change (10 per cent). In fact action on climate change was ranked as a higher priority than the majority of small business issues, including access to capital and reduction of red tape (7 per cent respectively).

Nearly half of all small business owners surveyed (47 per cent) said they would consider the minor parties when voting – proving the major parties still have much to do to capture this important segment of the Australian community.

“With almost one in two small businesses saying their needs had not received enough attention in the election campaign to date, and some even unable to name the Prime Minister, it’s clear there is a critical need for engagement between politicians and the over two million small business owners, who employ five million Australians,” said Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry, Xero Australia.

Prouse suggested one of the most surprising insights out of the survey was how small business owners found out about policies that could affect them.

Forty-two per cent received such advice from their accountants or bookkeepers, compared with 32 per cent getting their information from government websites, and 24 per cent from financial advisers.

“We’re pleased to see that the vast knowledge of accountants and bookkeepers is being utilised by small businesses. There are a number of policies that will directly and indirectly affect small businesses when the new federal government comes into power, and it’s important that small businesses are aware of these changes and how they will affect their bottom lines,” Prouse said.

Further findings from the survey included:

  • Almost one in two (49 per cent) of small businesses feel the sector is being overlooked by the major parties this election campaign
  • Nearly two in five (38 per cent) of small businesses only “somewhat understand” the policy differences between the two major parties
  • More generally, the single thing small business owners are most worried about are: cash flow (30 per cent); cost of energy (17 per cent); and the outcome of this year’s election (11 per cent).

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