Australia

Government 

Expectations of government centre on the need for tax reform and ongoing infrastructure deficiencies. Most businesses are also suspicious of carbon pricing.

Figure 1: Most favoured Australian Government priorities nominated by private business (% of responses).

 
Figure 1

When we asked companies what priorities the present Australian Government should adopt for the remainder of its present term of office, infrastructure and tax reform emerge as the overriding issues, being cited by 22 percent and 20 percent of respondents respectively.

 

In 2011 these were both the top priorities, however clearing foreign debt has now risen to the third priority issue, overtaking managing inflation. Climate change appears to be regarded as a low priority-issue for private business.

We also asked respondents to suggest priorities for their respective state and territory governments. Here the major concern is state infrastructure (chosen by 26 percent of respondents), followed by the need to reduce business regulation, which is mentioned by 21 percent of the surveyed businesses.

Reform of state taxes and charges (18 percent) is the other big issue. Broken down on a state and territory basis, respondent concerns largely reflect the national trends.

 

 

 

 

Figure 2: Most favoured state government priorities nominated by private business (% of responses by state/territory).


  Total NSW QLD SA VIC WA NT TAS

Reducing unemployment

6 6 5 2 6 1 4 10

Climate change

0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Education

 9 9 7 4 12 9 4 13

Healthcare reform

9 11 11 5 15 8 6 16

Infrastructure

26 34 19 18 25 34 38 4

Population

2 0 2 2 2 6 2 1

State taxes and charges reform

18  13 22 35 17 13 10 16

Encouraging business through reducing regulation

21 20 25 21 16 16 32 25

Waster management

1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4

Energy alternatives

3 3 2 4 4 4 2 6

Water

2 0 2 5 0 7 0 0

Other

3 2 6 5 2 3 2 1
 

 

A clear majority of survey respondents (57 percent) feel carbon pricing will have a high or medium impact on the welfare of their businesses. Less than 5 percent think it will have no impact. More than four out of every five respondents believe carbon pricing is a threat to their business and this holds for the short, medium and long term. Only 11 percent regard carbon pricing as a business opportunity in the short term, although that figure improves to 18 percent for the long term (5 years and beyond). Focus group sentiment on carbon pricing came across as particularly negative.

 

Respondents also report a relatively low take up of government assistance. Billions of dollars in government funding is made available through these initiatives, however survey findings suggest many private companies have a limited understanding of this landscape and are not taking advantage of related opportunities, with only 24 percent of companies claiming the R&D Tax Incentive and 21 percent aware of, or accessing, grant funding.

Figure 3: Businesses claiming the R&D Tax Incentive (% of responses).

 

Figure 3

Figure 4: The extent that businesses are accessing grant funding opportunities (% of responses).

Figure 4

Video: Private Companies Survey 2012

Video: Private Companies Survey 2012
KPMG's National Managing Partner of Private Enterprise, Peter Siebels, gives an overview of the findings from the Private Companies Survey 2012.

Full report

Private Companies Survey 2012 in PDF

Download a copy of the Private Companies Survey 2012 in PDF.