Queensland’s lacklustre economy is reflected in our small and medium businesses remaining less optimistic than those nationwide, particularly in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT, according to the latest Sensis survey of small and medium businesses, those businesses with fewer than 200 employees (see chart above, which charts the difference between the percentages of optimistic and pessimistic businesses, the net balance). There was a fall recorded in business confidence in Queensland in March quarter, but I am hesitant to make too much of it given there appears to be substantial volatility in the series due to the relatively small sample size (171 Queensland businesses). At least over the last twelve months there has been a substantial improvement in confidence, after the initial shock of the mining downturn. But, as I’ve commented extensively in the past, the economy remains sluggish, and regional areas are struggling, and that is why our performance is below that of other States.
The Sensis data also reveal that the Queensland Government “is now viewed as the least supportive government of all the states and territories” as reported by the Courier-Mail. I have been saying for some time now that State Government policies and regulations need to be improved in the interests of boosting productivity and economic growth. My most recent comments were in my second interview with Steve Austin on 612 ABC Brisbane last week (see Queenslanders struggling to find jobs), in which I again called for legalisation of Uber, deregulation of retail trading hours, and streamlining project approvals.