With four months to go before a Federal election, a new business survey indicates that as far as small and medium sized employers are concerned, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have little to worry about.
The survey by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry covered 1,700 businesses, the majority of which had between 1 and 49 employees.
Despite the pressures on the economy of the high Australian dollar, relatively few businesses were concerned about the exchange rate.
Instead, the majority were worried about high government spending, with 61% listing it as a major concern.
Government regulation and tax were also uppermost in the minds of small and medium business, but 58.8% also said they were very concerned about the level of government debt, a major weapon in the Coalition’s attacks on the Gillard Government.
Business also had problems on the State level, with Stamp Duties and Payroll Tax rating high on their lists of tax concerns.
There were significant differences between smaller and larger businesses on the tax question, however, with small business more worried about personal income tax and compulsory superannuation, while bigger enterprises had more concern with stamp duty and company tax.
One Opposition policy that’s not been well received by small business in particular, however, is Tony Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme. 69.2% of small businesses strongly agreed that “The Government should not require employers to be the paymaster” for such a scheme.
More generally, though, the survey suggests, an incoming Abbott Government would find fertile ground among small, medium and large businesses for Workplace Relations reform.
The survey suggests that almost one business in every two has major concerns with the Fair Work Laws, and wants fewer limitations on being able to set wages and conditions.
The survey suggests that, less than a week before the Federal Budget, the Gillard Government has made little if any headway in bringing the business sector over to its side.
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