In 2011 two thirds of Victorian businesses felt the Australian economy was on an upward curve, or had plateaued at the top of the curve.
In 2012 the proportion feeling this way has dropped by half to 33 percent, the largest fall of any state or territory. Nearly 62 percent think the economy has entered a downward phase of the cycle.
Among Victorian respondents, 48.5 percent failed to meet their revenue targets over the past 12 months. Only 11.8 percent exceeded their targets. Looking ahead, 14.7 percent of Victorian businesses predict negative growth in the current year, the highest negative outlook across the country. Nevertheless 44.9 percent of respondents feel their revenue growth will be up to five percent higher in the present period while 25 percent think it will be higher still.
A lack of consumer and business confidence is ranked the major current challenge for Victorian businesses. Continuing global economic uncertainty and competitor activity are other prominent concerns.
Thirty-nine percent of Victorian businesses expect to increase their headcounts in the current year, which is down from 56 percent in 2011. However, 17 percent intend to cut employee numbers compared with just 11.5 percent in 2011.
Favoured priorities for the state government include infrastructure development, reform of state taxes and charges, reduced regulation and healthcare reform.