The Marshall Liberal Government has welcomed the results of a leading independent business survey that shows local conditions and confidence surging to well beyond pre-pandemic levels.
The Business SA-William Buck Survey of Business Expectations, released today, shows business confidence climbing 13 points to 108.3 points for the December 2020 quarter – a level not seen since late 2018.
And business conditions soared 20.5 points to 105.3 for the December 2020 quarter to reach another 2-year high – despite the 3-day COVID circuit breaker in November – with local businesses so optimistic they expect conditions to “get even better”.
“The Government’s handling of the pandemic from both a health and economic stimulus perspective is no doubt a key reason for the healthy amount of optimism,” said William Buck managing director, Jamie McKeough.
Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the survey results, which reflected similar positive sentiment in other independent economic surveys in recent weeks.
“We recognise the tremendous toll COVID has taken on many employers across the state, and – while some continue to be impacted – we are delighted that significant numbers are not only back on their feet, but are thriving,” said Mr Lucas.
“It’s encouraging to see nearly half of all businesses surveyed reported their revenue had returned to normal, or to levels higher than a year ago. One third said that 2020 was their best financial performance, or the best in five years.”
Mr Lucas said the Marshall Government’s record $4 billion in economic stimulus to turbo-charge the state’s ongoing economic and jobs recovery over the next 2 years, will continue to provide critical support for businesses – even after the conclusion of the Federal JobKeeper scheme at the end of next month.
“More than a quarter of a billion dollars in cash grants has already been paid to thousands of eligible small businesses and not-for-profits, while our massive stimulus program also provides for extended financial relief and direct, targeted support through tax cuts and deferrals and access to a range of grants and funding programs,” Mr Lucas said.
“For example, we are providing $233 million in total payroll tax relief for thousands of eligible businesses including a waiver for those with grouped annual wages up to $4 million – meaning eligible businesses won’t have to pay any payroll tax for 15 months, or until July this year.”
“This waiver is expected to assist around 2,400 business groups and save them up to $210,000 over 15 months.”
Some other comments arising from the survey:
Business SA CEO Martin Haese said: “South Australian consumers are also showing great confidence and supporting their local businesses with almost 1 in 3 businesses forecasting trade to be better than their pre-COVID levels through the March quarter.”
Caledonia Group managing director, David Stephen (survey case study): “There is definitely a groundswell of confidence right across the industries we service and that’s very positive, not just for companies like us, but for local job creation.”