The percentage of businesses that said the federal government's policies are supportive almost doubled (from 16 per cent to 30 per cent), while the proportion that said the Coalition's policies work against small business halved (from 24 per cent to 12 per cent), leading to a 26-point turnaround on a net basis.
“Six times as many businesses thought the budget will benefit their business as those who thought it will have a negative influence,” Sensis CEO John Allan said.
“There was a dramatic shift in opinions toward the federal government, with those surveyed saying tax incentives, depreciation benefits and tax cuts will help their business.”
The index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses, revealed business confidence increased by four points to 31 points for the quarter, up from 12 a year ago.
Perception of the economy saw an improvement of eight points; however, twice as many businesses still believe the economy is slowing rather than growing (28 per cent as opposed to 13 per cent).
“On a net basis, confident businesses are three times more likely to back the federal government’s policies, at 24 points, versus only eight points for worried business, suggesting a link between the lift in business confidence and the May budget,” said Mr Allan.
“Lack of work or sales remains the key concern, mentioned by 15 per cent of businesses, and is even more of a concern in the building and construction sector. Of those who reported barriers to taking on new employees, more than half cited this as a key reason.
“The economic climate remains a major concern for 7 per cent of businesses but is of particular concern in the wholesale sector at 17 per cent. Cash flow, bad debts and profitability is of concern to twice as many businesses in the manufacturing, finance and insurance sectors at 15 per cent compared to the average of 7 per cent,” said Mr Allan.