Time to build on business confidence


28 April 2017


Time to build on business confidence

Local businesses are optimistic and performing strongly, but Canberra Business Chamber has warned the upcoming Federal and Territory Budgets need to include measures specifically aimed at the sector because it is feeling ignored, and even hindered, by current policies.

“ACT businesses have recorded outstanding results in the latest Sensis Business Index,” Canberra Business Chamber CEO, Robyn Hendry said. “We currently have the highest level of small and medium business (SMB) confidence in Australia – by a long way.”

Over the last quarter, SMB confidence in the ACT lifted by a huge 18 points. It was one of the few jurisdictions to record an increase and the bump was more than three times that of the next closest state.

Seventy-three per cent of ACT businesses are confident about their own prospects over the next 12 months.

Strong sales and profitability drove the ACT results.

“The ACT has exceptional results in employment, wages growth and sales. Perhaps the most outstanding finding is that the ACT was the only state or territory where business profitability grew,” Ms Hendry said. “These results are a reflection on the hard work, development and innovation of our private sector. What we need to ensure is that this high level of confidence is converted into business investment and economic growth.”

“What is worrying is that despite the many positives, local businesses are still not convinced governments are doing right by them. This concern has the potential to dampen intent to convert confidence into action.”

While there was an improvement in attitudes towards levels of ACT Government support, overall businesses still believe it can do more and gave a negative rating.

“Businesses in the region are telling us that things like impenetrable layers of bureaucracy and the influence of unions concern them. We also need to ensure all businesses are enjoying these great results, there are still some doing it tough and we are certainly not immune to business closures here in the ACT,” Ms Hendry said.

When it comes to the Federal Government, sentiment got worse this quarter.

“The soon to be released Budgets must contain strategic initiatives that will support business growth and sustainability in order to turn this view around. We will be reviewing the Budgets closely and assessing them against their potential to assist ACT businesses,” Ms Hendry concluded.

Media Contact: Robyn Hendry, CEO Canberra Business Chamber 0418 462 151