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Eased restrictions drive up business confidence

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South Australian businesses saw an uplift in conditions and confidence over the March quarter, following the scrapping of COVID-19 restrictions, a new survey shows.

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Results from the Business SA William Buck survey of business expectations show the confidence index is up 18 points from December 2021, while general business conditions also saw an increase of 6.8 points.

It follows a decline in business confidence over previous quarters, prompted by the repercussions of the November border reopening and coronavirus restrictions.

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese said the March quarter results were a “testament to the resilience of the South Australian business community”, but warned employers were concerned about wage rises.

“Having borne the financial brunt of the pandemic over the past two years, businesses have done it tough,” he said.

“While there are calls to increase wages, it makes sense that business owners and employers are concerned about the associated cost impacts.

“Increasing the minimum wage beyond reason is not the best way to deliver higher living standards for low-paid workers. There are taxation mechanisms that will give them a better result and avoid putting more pressure on business owners.”

William Buck Managing Director Jamie McKeough said businesses were still facing “significant challenges”, despite the easing of restrictions.

“Business is looking for more from new our state leaders in labour-related areas such as reducing payroll tax, incentivising employment, and increasing training,” he said.

“They are also calling for reduced red tape and increased local procurement by the state government.”

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