Engine room of economy under pressure
5 June 2009,
The Gold Coast’s once fertile SME landscape is withering amid the downturn, but it would be reckless to assume that the recessionary weeds are entangling all small business owners.
FOLLOWING the Federal Budget’s $500 million allocation to small business incentives and support, many SMEs are looking to capitalise on incentives as part of the $141 million Small Business and General Business Tax Break.
In fact, the Konica business solutions dealer has experienced a 30 per cent decrease in sales this year and has readjusted its forecasts.
“The finance companies are pushing us to pass it (tax rebate) onto customers and it’s fine to alert people that there’s a rebate, but there’s not a lot of people that can commit to a straight out purchase,” says Thompson, who sells around 30 units per month in the $300 to $35,000 price range.
“The rebate is a bit ‘smoke and mirrors’ and in our view, the Government is not doing enough to support small business. The incentive has not made people run out and invest in capital equipment.”
Thompson says a lack of awareness and education has not helped SMEs on the Coast.
He cites a personal example where his accountant suggested that now was the time to upgrade the company car in order to receive the 50 per cent rebate prior to the end of December.
But even the car dealer was unaware of the tax breaks.
“One thing about our industry is there’s a lot of equipment out on finance and there are always upgrades,” he says.
“In hindsight, you didn’t have to be too smart to be successful over the last five years, but those that were, are surviving and even creating opportunities in the downturn.”