Queensland small business says time to build and create jobs

Friday 11 November, 2016

Small business has spoken. The business community desperately wants our State political leaders to do a much better job to grow the Queensland economy, create jobs, deliver infrastructure and cut costs, taxes and red tape.

An exclusive poll of 1600 businesses, conducted by leading independent market research company ReachTEL on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), reveals they are far from happy with the State Government.

The ReachTEL survey showed that more than 90 per cent of the business community rated the State Government’s performance in terms of stimulating economic growth and job creation as either very poor, poor or average at best.

Asked to rate the performance of the State Government in managing the Budget, again more than 90 per cent said it was very poor, poor or average.

It was a similar disturbing result for reducing government costs, red tape and taxes on business (95 per cent), delivery infrastructure (89 per cent), and investing in innovation and encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurs (90 per cent), with widespread dissatisfaction.

CCIQ’s Pulse Survey of Business Conditions has consistently cited the State Government’s lack of action and leadership as a key cause of poor business confidence for the Queensland economy.

And CCIQ’s new monthly Queensland Economic Update, while acknowledging signs the economy may have turned a corner, noted there was still considerable room for improvement in restoring confidence in the economy and encouraging a return to spending on goods and services.

CCIQ believes, on the back of its latest economic data and the new ReachTEL survey, the message for all sides of politics is clear: you must do better if you want the support of small business.

Small businesses are being failed by all sides of politics in Queensland and with a State Election likely in the next 12 months, CCIQ has identified the key areas where leadership must be shown to win back the support of businesses across the state:

  • Economic Growth and Job Creation
  • State Budget and Finances
  • Infrastructure
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said domestic economic growth is only now starting to recover and only as a result of State Government consumption and capital expenditure.

The unemployment rate sits at 6.1 per cent, well above the national average of 5.6 per cent, with the total employment numbers over the past 12 months declining.

“Advance Queensland and the Back to Work initiative are yet to meaningfully stimulate employment. And the only claim to improving jobs growth is the public service headcount, which has increased by in excess of 10,000 positions,” he said.

Mr Behrens said the State Budget is in operations surplus, but not meaningfully paying down debt.

“Both general government and public sector debt is increasing across forward estimates debt reduction measures have in effect been more about shifting debt across to the GOCs,” he said.

“The business community is concerned at the blow-out in public service numbers and the impact this will have on the Budget’s bottom line. There is a general lack of confidence that the State Government will be able to get our Triple A credit rating back.”

He said the State Government infrastructure spend is at an historic low.

“There is a blame game with the Commonwealth on the upgrading the M1, building Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and dams in the north.”

He said the State Government had walked away from lifting the payroll tax exemption threshold for small businesses, while increasing taxes in the form of imposing a foreign investor 3 per cent duty surcharge on property transactions.

“Red tape reduction is stalled with no progress in first 18 months of this government.”

The business community was also concerned that new programs had been tailored towards start-ups and not established small businesses.

With almost two in three businesses surveyed by ReachTEL saying they wanted to go back to the polls within the next six months, CCIQ calls on Labor, LNP, Greens, Katter’s Australia Party, One Nation and Independent MPs to formulate small business-friendly policies that will actively work towards helping grow the economy and boost jobs and investment in small business across Queensland.

CCIQ will continue to undertake this research on a quarterly basis with the broader business community and its members to further enhance the overarching data provided by the Suncorp Group CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions and CCIQ’s monthly Queensland Economic Update.

We are of the firm belief that this long-term view is to scrutinise the policies of all parties in the run up to the next State Election because neither major party has convinced small business to vote for them.

Reachtel two

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