Queensland Small Business Frustration Rising as Confidence Remains Subdued: CCIQ

Monday 12 August, 2019 | By: Dan Petrie

Business confidence in Queensland improved marginally in the June quarter as the conclusion of the federal election helped alleviate political uncertainty for the national economy whilst frustrations within the Queensland business sector centre around high operating costs and a lack of economy activity in the state according to the latest Suncorp-CCIQ Business Pulse Survey.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) notes sentiment in Queensland improved 1.2 points from the March quarter to a level of 43.6 on a seasonally adjusted basis whilst the national outlook gained six points to 50.9 over the June quarter.

Survey responses showed an increasing divergence in sentiment between South-East Queensland and the regions also apparent in the latest survey as perceptions of priorities in Brisbane and the Gold Coast received greater focus than ongoing challenges in the regions.  

CCIQ General Manager of Advocacy, Amanda Rohan said whilst a marginal improvement in the overall confidence benchmark is welcome, policy makers need to do more in dealing with the challenges facing many businesses, particularly in regional areas.

“The solutions to improving sentiment involve clearly articulated policy initiatives, a greater coordination of government at all levels working together and the encouragement private sector projects.  

“Frustration at the pace of economic growth has been a consistent theme for the small business sector over the last three years,” Ms Rohan said.

Suncorp Head of Business Customers, John Debenham said while the shift may only be minor, it’s a move in the right direction.

“While there has been some strong headwinds over the past few years, which is reflected in the general sentiment of this community, Suncorp is optimistic about the outlook for Queensland, and the operating environment for all businesses. These results again reinforce the importance of banks like Suncorp to support customers to help navigate challenges so they can invest in and grow their businesses with confidence,” Mr Debenham said.

“The current low interest rate environment is delivering financial reprieve for small businesses and as a result, we are seeing more small businesses talk to us about lending and investing which is a sign of optimism.

“This paired with improved weather conditions in some parts of Queensland; ongoing strong commodity prices and improved property prices as we head into the new financial year should mean the outlook will continue to improve in the next quarter.”

 

Queensland Outlook

Australian Outlook

 

Jun-18

Mar-19

Jun-19

Jun-18

Mar-19

Jun-19

Mean response1

3.12

3.34

3.28

2.85

3.26

2.99

Standard error2

0.06

0.04

0.04

0.05

0.04

0.04

Significance3: prob =

2%

0%

 

4%

0%

 

Weaker (%)

30

42

40

17

39

30

Same (%)

46

42

40

50

42

39

Stronger (%)

24

16

20

33

19

31

Index (original)

47.0

41.7

42.9

53.9

43.4

50.3

Index (seasonally adjusted)

47.8

42.4

43.6

54.5

44.6

50.9

1 Coded 1 – 5: (1-Much stronger; 2-Somewhat stronger; 3-About the same; 4-Somewhat weaker; 5-Much weaker)

2 There is a 95% probability that the true mean lies within a range of two standard errors above and two standard errors below the mean response score.

3 Difference in mean response scores relative to June 2019. Level of significance: prob = probability that the observed difference between the mean response scores occurred by chance alone. A probability value of 5% represents a 1 in 20 chance and a value less than 5% is a conventional significance level to reject the null hypothesis that there is no statistical difference between the mean scores.

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