Confidence among small to medium businesses is on shaky grounds with a new survey revealing it has dropped to a low not seen since the global financial crisis (GFC).
The Sensis Business Index, which interviews 1800 small to medium business owners in industries such as retail, shows owners are worried about their prospects over the next year.
“This is one of the largest quarterly falls in business confidence we have seen in the 18-year history of the report,” says report author Christine Singh.
“In a historical context, business confidence is at a low-ebb in Australia. We have really only seen business confidence lower during the peak of the GFC and the introduction of the GST.”
According to the index business also experienced weaker trading conditions last quarter and believe sales and profits will fall in the short and long term.
Singh says businesses are also negative about Australia’s economic future, not just their own ventures.
“Overall, small businesses believe the economy is currently slowing and that it will have deteriorated in a year’s time. This is the first time in a year we have seen perceptions of the economy trend into negative territory.”
Support for the Federal Government has fallen to a 15-year low. Respondents gave reasons such as a lack of incentives for small business and too many costs and policies such as the carbon tax. Fifty-three per cent fears it will have a negative impact, 41 per cent said it will have no impact while just six per cent believe it will have a positive outcome.