Pro-business election policies key to lifting business sentiment

| May 15, 2019

As Australians head to the polls this weekend, many businesses will be keenly watching for pro-business promises from the elected party.

The most recent Survey of Business Trends and Prospects from the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, released today, shows business sentiment is at a three-year low, with only 14 per cent of businesses anticipating stronger national growth in the year ahead.

In metropolitan Melbourne, a key battleground for the major parties, just one in ten businesses expect Australian economic activity to increase over the next 12 months. Surveyed businesses revealed that the federal election uncertainty is weighing heavily on the national economic outlook, according to the March 2019 quarter report.

Across the economy, domestic demand remained fragile for many businesses during the March quarter. While 36 per cent of respondents reported a rise in sales, this was offset by 24 per cent reporting a decline.

Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Mark Stone said the decline in confidence comes off the back of an extended period of uncertainty around which party will form Government and whether their policies in taxation, energy and workplace relations will have a positive impact on the operating environment and outlook for business.

“Rising energy costs, fragile domestic sales and difficulty accessing international markets are reported to be hindering business growth. The next Australian Government needs to address these issues if it is to lift confidence and make it easier for businesses to prosper.

“The past decade has shown the negative impacts of minority governments and minor party influence. Now, with consumer and business confidence at a low it is even more important that voters elect a pro-business major party. The Victorian Chamber is calling on Victorian business owners to vote for a party that supports growth and job creation.

“We will continue to advocate on behalf of industry to ensure that business confidence is boosted and that Australia’s next Government gives businesses the best chance of growing jobs and becoming more innovative and export oriented.”