ACT small and medium businesses second most confident in the nation

26 November 2018: The September Quarter 2018 Sensis Business Index, set to be released Tuesday 27 November, has revealed that close to seven in ten (69%) small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) feel confident in their prospects over the next 12 months, coming in as the second most confident state or territory in the nation.

The report, which measures the SMB activity, expectations and confidence over a three-month period, found that despite a fall of five points to +56, ACT remained 14 points above the national confidence average, second only to Tasmania.

Of the majority of businesses that expressed confidence (69%), their primary reason was healthy sales, while those with a more negative outlook (13%) expressed concerns around competitive pressures and an unfavourable business environment.

Sensis Chief Executive Officer, John Allan, said: “What we saw among small and medium businesses in the ACT is that they reported above average key indicators last quarter, particularly in sales and wages, which created a healthy environment for the majority of ACT businesses surveyed.”

The report also found that support for the ACT Government was on the rise, lifting seven points to +5, with those in support referencing management training offered and infrastructure development as key factors driving their response. SMBs who were not in support of the Territory Government expressed concerns around the favouring of big businesses in tendering and outsourcing, along with land tax issues and too many costs.

When it came to opinions of the Federal Government, support decreased significantly, falling 14 points to -8, the second lowest result found across the nation and 11 points below the national average.

“With the recent change in Prime Minister, from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison, it’s not surprising to see this negative shift in opinion.”

“Businesses respond well to support and stability and significant changes to the Federal Government can materially impact ACT businesses.”

Other interesting findings from the report:

· Perceptions of the economy fell 19 points to +10, sitting one points below the national average

· 23% of ACT’s small to medium businesses feel the economy is growing, while 13% believe it to be slowing down

SMB confidence by state

Net balance

Change from last quarter

National average

+42

ê7

Tasmania

+59

é2

Australian Capital Territory

+56

ê5

New South Wales

+49

ê7

Queensland

+44

ê4

Victoria

+42

ê6

South Australia

+28

ê17

Western Australia

+22

ê7

Northern Territory

+7

ê21

Key performance indicators – ACT

*Net balance for key indicators

Actual experience**

Expectation for next 3 months

Sep 2017

Jun 2017

Sep 2018

Sep 2017

Jun 2017

Sep 2018

Sales

+8

+13

+7

+34

+36

+35

Employment

+1

+2

+2

+7

+17

+15

Wages

+15

+9

+9

+12

+18

+28

Prices

+11

+16

+9

+23

+30

+13

Profitability

+4

+10

-2

+28

+34

+35

/Public Release.