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The Money.com.au study on the impact of Government stimulus on businesses

November 2020

About the study

Money.com.au commissioned a survey of an independent panel of 121 Australian business owners, who accepted Government stimulus this year. It sought to understand whether Government stimulus measures were essential to business survival and which measure – JobKeeper payments, the instant asset write off, cash flow boost and SME Guarantee Scheme – business owners considered to help their business the most. The survey also revealed whether businesses performed better, the same, or worse, as a result of Government stimulus this year, compared with last year.

Money.com.au surveyed business owners across a range of industries and organisation sizes: micro (1-10 employees), small (11-50 employees), medium (51-200 employees) and large (more than 200 employees). Respondents also represented various lengths of time their businesses have been operational: young businesses (less than five years in operation) and established (more than five years).

What proportion of businesses accepted Government stimulus measures this year?

Sixty-nine (69) per cent of businesses accepted JobKeeper payments between April and end-September this year, while 16 per cent of businesses used the instant asset write-off, 14 per cent accepted the cash flow boost and two (2) per cent took out business finance through the SME Guarantee Scheme.

A higher proportion of large businesses accepted JobKeeper payments, at 92 per cent, compared with 67 per cent of medium businesses, and 61 per cent of businesses with less than 50 employees.

Across the States, 83 per cent of Victorian businesses accepted JobKeeper payments, followed by 70 per cent of those in Western Australia, 53 per cent in Queensland and 40 per cent in South Australia.

A higher proportion of South Australian businesses used the cash flow boost stimulus measure, compared with 20 per cent of those based in Western Australia, 14 per cent in NSW and 6 per cent in Victoria.

Were stimulus measures essential to business survival this year?

Seventy-two (72) per cent of business owners said Government stimulus measures were essential to their business survival. Across the States, 82 per cent of business owners based in NSW said stimulus measures were essential to their business survival, followed by 72 per cent of those in Victoria and 58 per cent in Queensland.

A higher proportion of businesses in the food services industry needed Government stimulus for their survival: 80 per cent said it was essential to their business, compared with 64 per cent of retailers and 33 per cent of businesses in the transport industry.

Which stimulus measure was most helpful to Australian businesses?

Sixty-nine (69) per cent of business owners cited JobKeeper as the stimulus measure that helped their business the most. In contrast, an equal 14 per cent of business owners found the instant asset write off and cash flow boost most helpful, while three (3) per cent cited the SME Guarantee Scheme as most helpful.

The majority of business owners in Victoria said JobKeeper helped their business the most, at 75 per cent. This compared with 63 per cent of those in Queensland and 40 per cent in South Australia. Sixty-eight (68) per cent of young businesses in operation less than five years said JobKeeper was the most helpful stimulus measure, compared with 57 per cent of established businesses.

Did businesses do better this year, compared with 2019, due to stimulus measures?

Thirty-five (35) per cent of business owners did not experience a drop in business this year, compared with 2019 due to these stimulus measures, while 45 per cent said they were worse off this year.

Across the States, 50 per cent of Western Australian businesses did not experience a drop or increase in business this year, compared with 2019, followed by 40 per cent of those in South Australia and compared with 31 per cent of those in Victoria.

The smaller the size of the business, the more likely they were to have struggled this year, compared with 2019. Fifty-five (55) per cent of micro businesses said they were worse-off this year than last year, followed by 46 per cent of small businesses. In contrast, 43 per cent of medium businesses and 28 per cent of large businesses said they did worse this year.

A high proportion of retailers also said they did worse this year, compared with last year, despite Government stimulus measures, with 55 per cent citing this. This is compared with 25 per cent of those in finance and 17 per cent in telecommunications.

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