Tuesday, April 24, 2007

With friends like these... Small business is unenthusiastic about WorkChoices

The government’s WorkChoices legislation has received a thumbs down from small business, described by the Prime Minister earlier this month as its biggest beneficiaries.

Of those small businesses taking part in the latest MYOB quarterly survey only 18 per cent agreed with the statement that WorkChoices had made them more likely to hire new workers. 30 per cent disagreed, most of them strongly...

Earlier this month John Howard declared WorkChoices a success saying “It was always my opinion that the unfair dismissal laws frightened small business out of taking on more staff, and now that those unfair dismissal laws have been removed, people are being taken on”.

The MYOB survey suggests that in the sector believed to have the most exposure to WorkChoices - accommodation, cafes and restaurants, only 15 per cent of small businesses agree it will make them more likely to hire new workers, with only five per cent agreeing strongly.

Yet the survey finds that one in every four small businesses plan to hire more staff in the months ahead. More than half say they plan to invest in their business, and almost three quarters say the sales outlook is positive.

The Opposition’s spokesman on small business and the service economy Craig Emerson said last night the survey showed that in the view of small business itself, its job hiring intensions were not related to WorkChoices or to its unfair dismissal provisions.

“Four fifths of respondents do not support the proposition that that WorkChoices will promote employment in their businesses. Yet the government has categorically stated that WorkChoices is unanimously supported by small business,” he said.

The MYOB survey shows that 44 per cent of small businesses were dissatisfied with the federal government’s contribution to the health of their business, and only 25 per cent very or somewhat satisfied.

31 per cent of small businesses were concerned about the outlook for interest rates, only 7 per cent were concerned about the outlook for their sales.

Asked who would make a better Prime Minister, 42 per cent preferred John Howard and 35 per cent Kevin Rudd. The balance either didn’t know or wouldn’t say.