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Varied business confidence reinforces need for pro-business policies in forthcoming State Budget

Strong business confidence among metropolitan based businesses during the first quarter of 2018 masks wide variations in trading performance and sentiment across different industries and locations according to the latest Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Trends and Prospects Survey.

The March quarter survey found that more than 40% of business owners in Melbourne expect business conditions to improve over the next twelve months. However, in regional Victoria, only 28% are as confident.

Similarly, while a significant 41% of businesses in the tourism and recreational services sector reported an increase in sales over the March quarter, those in the transport and storage sector experienced much tougher conditions due to increasing congestion and rising energy costs.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said the forthcoming Victorian Budget needs to spur business confidence and improve the operating environment.

Mr Stone said the Victorian Chamber’s State Budget submission includes recommendations to tackle business challenges and keep Victoria strong and growing, including:

  • Increase the payroll tax threshold to $850,000
  • Progress the North East Link
  • Lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration
  • Fund Stage 2 of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan
  • Further decentralise key state government departments or agencies to regional locations under a 5–10 year reform timetable
  • Fund a dedicated communication campaign to improve the image of apprenticeships and attract young talent to priority industries including new energy technologies, agribusiness, ICT, construction, tourism, education and health services.

Victoria accounts for a quarter of Australia’s economic output, with 590,000 private sector businesses employing nearly 2.5 million people or 78% of the State’s workforce.

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