Government yet to make its mark on sluggish economy

CONFIDENCE in doing business in Australia has continued its sluggish performance in recent months, mostly due to expected fall-out of the Abbott government's first budget, a key indicator shows.

The latest Roy Morgan business confidence survey, released a day before Treasurer Joe Hockey releases his first budget, shows the government was yet to make a mark on the economy.

While there was a surge in confidence not long after last year's federal election, the latest figures show it barely budged in April, up just 0.3 points in the past month.

Roy Morgan Research communications director Norman Morris said it was "to be expected" given uncertainty around the budge, but an expected surge had not eventuated.

"The hoped-for improvement in confidence in the key areas of retail, construction and manufacturing, were seen as making up for a slowdown in the mining industry, did not happen during April.

"These sectors all remain below average in confidence, which is not a good sign for economic recovery.

Mr Morris said the government's Commission of Audit report also had a "dramatic negative impact" on consumer confidence during April and was expected to hit business confidence as well next month.

"The full impact of the report will depend on the extent to which the Federal Government implements the commission's recommendations," he said,

While the focus in recent months had been on expectations of a return in retail and housing fortunes, to make up for the ailing mining sector, the monitor showed no sector had yet surpassed mining's confidence.

In April, confidence in mining sat on over 150 points, while retail was on 108 points and construction again lagged at 113 points.



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