Business confidence on the rise in Canberra: Sensis survey

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A new survey has found that Canberra’s small and medium-sized businesses are among the most confident in Australia. They reported the best profitability result last quarter, helping drive positive views of the economy.

According to the most recent Sensis Business Index poll from August, confidence increased by 14 points among businesses in Canberra since the last survey in June. It comes amid a downward trend of 27 points nationally.

Sensis chief executive John Allan confirmed that Canberra businesses were the most positive in Australia when it comes to specific business prospects with higher sales key to the result. The poll created a confidence index to determine the views of 1,000 businesses in the country.

"The ACT government has maintained a positive approval rating among businesses, with businesses pleased with the easing of regulations," Allan said. Last year, he told ABC Canberra's Philip Clark that Canberra confidence was significantly down with concerns about jobs in the public sector. He cited cuts in the government which somehow affected the local economy.

"The businesses I talked to in Canberra were saying, John, people are just keeping their hand in their pocket- they are worried about jobs, they're worried about spending,” Allan said at that time. The situation improved a year later.

Allan said that businesses are more confident spending today, and that forward outlook is positive. The poll also indicates that support for the ACT government remained the same. Several small-to-medium businesses in Canberra believe that big-business were favoured by the government over small operators.

Nationally, the poll showed that 87 percent of businesses believe the Australian economy was either slowing or standing still. Thirteen percent of respondents thought it was growing.

Allan said it will be interesting to see the next poll. His tip is that confidence will be up due to a noticeable change in attitude during talks with business people across Australia in recent weeks.

Business confidence has grown in all states and territories throughout Australia in the last four months except for Western Australia, where measured confidence levels remained the same. As for South Australia, the state changed significantly in the past decade and a half. Holden car manufacturing plant’s recent closure is a prominent change in the past 15 years, bringing to an end car manufacturing in SA and Australia as a whole. The Business SA-Statewide Super Survey of Business Expectations remains open until October 31.

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