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Aussie SMBs remain confident despite quarterly slump in business index

Some 60 per cent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Australia remain confident, despite a seven-point fall from the nine-year high witnessed in the previous quarter, the September Quarter 2018 Sensis Business Index has shown.

The report, which measures SMB activity, expectations and confidence, found that despite a dip, the net balance of confidence for SMBs remained strong at +42.

Sensis noted that this is still among the better scores recorded in recent years.

Tasmania identified as the most confident state (up two points to +59), while confidence was lower in all other locations.

The biggest decrease was in the Northern Territory (down 21 points to +7), followed by South Australia (down 17 points to +28), with Western Australia (down seven points to +22) also below the national average.

Other locations exceeded or equalled the average, including the ACT (down five points to +56), NSW (down seven points to +49), Queensland (down four points to +44) and Victoria (down eight points to +42).

Sensis chief executive John Allan said, “Small and medium businesses in New South Wales are consistently found to be among the most confident of all of the states and territories, particularly in metro areas, which could be indicative of strength in the local economy.”

The recent change in Prime Minister from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison did not alter SMB opinions of the federal government, with the net balance unchanged at +3.

Tax-related reasons remain prominent among factors identified by SMBs with a favourable assessment of the federal government along with its perceived support and interest in small businesses.

SMBs with a negative opinion of the government’s policies mentioned excessive bureaucracy, high taxation and too much focus on big business ahead of other influences as reasons behind their response

Among Australia’s SMBs, expectations for next quarter remain positive and higher for all five key performance indicators

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