Labor ministers caught out by their own spin on ‘industry growth program’
Today, as Australian small businesses are being smashed by cost pressures, the Albanese Government has claimed its Industry Growth Program is ‘open for business’.
Industry Minister Ed Husic has taken a break from freelancing on foreign policy to team up with Small Business Minister Julie Collins, to declare this new government initiative will ‘turbocharge innovation’, ‘back small business’ and that ‘the Albanese Government is supporting businesses to grow’.
It can be revealed that this rosy assessment made by two of Labor’s worst performers does not accord with the assessments made by their public servants behind the scenes.
The Government’s own analysis contained in an FOI’d Senate Estimates brief, states that:
- Recently, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) conditions have fallen further below the conditions for all businesses than at any other time recorded.
- For the smallest SMEs (turnover between $2-3 million) the effect is even greater.
- Almost three-quarters of SMEs continue to report significant difficulty finding suitable labour and cost pressures remain elevated. These economic circumstances are affecting conditions for SMEs more than their larger counterparts given their relatively higher operating costs and thinner margins.
Who are we to believe, two hapless ministers or their own public servants?
Irrespective of the spin in press releases from Labor Ministers, Australian small businesses are suffering in a ‘cost-of-doing-business-crisis’ and the Albanese Government is simply not doing the work to relieve the pressure.
Instead of taking strong action on power prices, easing supply chain disruptions and lowering the cost of doing business we see another taxpayer-funded grant program unlikely to be open for months and which most small businesses will not know about, nor have time to apply for.
What’s worse, as Australians get hammered by cost of living increases and interest rates rises, there are signs it will get even harder for small businesses.
The Visa Australia Spending Momentum Index (SMI) dropped by 1.4 points to 91.9 in October as consumers continued to respond to rising fuel costs, sticky inflation and high interest rates. According to Visa, 51 per cent of Australian cardholders reduced their spend last month compared to a year ago, the highest share recorded this year. The data suggests increased spending on petrol is having an impact and may be displacing spending in other categories. Critically, it also anticipates that elevated inflation and interest rates will further hit consumer spending, making it even harder for small businesses over coming months.
We do not need more Labor ministers backslapping, we need a proper plan on inflation and sound economic management.
Anthony Albanese is failing at every turn.