Business News Releases

Metropolitan businesses lead optimistic outlook for the year ahead

METROPOLITAN businesses are relatively more positive about prospects for the national economy over the next 12 months compared with their regional counterparts, according to the latest VECCI - Bank of Melbourne survey of business trends and prospects by Victoria's peak employer body.

The state-wide survey of more than 400 businesses found that 40 per cent of Victorian metropolitan businesses expect an improvement in national economic conditions in 2014, compared to 38 per cent of regional businesses holding this view.

Only 14 per cent of surveyed metropolitan businesses expect national economic conditions to weaken in the next 12 months, while 19 per cent of regional respondents expect a deterioration.

Looking at the survey results as a whole, for the first time since December 2011 more businesses reported an improvement in general business conditions during the quarter than did those reporting a deterioration.

While metropolitan businesses were slightly more likely to have experienced stronger general business conditions in the December quarter, their regional counterparts reported more stable selling prices along with a small improvement in exports.

Profitability was under pressure for both groups during the quarter, particularly those in metropolitan Melbourne.

“Confidence in the future prospects of both the state and national economies is vital to driving growth," says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

“Many parts of regional Victoria have faced difficulties surrounding traditionally strong local industries. However, strong regional employment growth and recent major announcements of new investment in sectors such as food processing and retail should provide a platform for improved performance and optimism.

“Despite improving business confidence, challenges remain and the business community is looking to governments at all levels to play their part by progressing reforms that lower business costs, cut red tape, enhance infrastructure, raise exports and improve education and training outcomes. Reforms in these areas are key to creating new investment and employment."

Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Scott Tanner concurs: “We have seen an increase in business lending in the past few months. The latest survey supports the proposition that the Victorian economy is gathering momentum and it is pleasing that most sectors in the state recorded an improvement in conditions. Low interest rates and a weaker currency are particularly good news for Victoria.” 

VECCI & Bank of Melbourne partnership

VECCI is pleased to partner with Bank of Melbourne. The bank supports VECCI’s quarterly survey of business trends and prospects, Business Leaders event series and Women in Business event series. The partnership builds on both VECCI’s and the Bank of Melbourne’s mutual goals in supporting businesses in Victoria.

Background – About VECCI

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state. 

Background – About Bank of Melbourne

Bank of Melbourne is helping build a better Victoria. Since launching in July 2011, the bank has tripled its workforce, opened 80 branches and become more involved in the local community. The bank partners with Victorian organisations and events including the MCG and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and supports industry with initiatives including Agenda Victoria. As a full-service bank, its team of lenders, account executives and industry specialists are supporting Victorian businesses, both large and small.




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ARA welcomes Acting NSW Small Business Commissioner Candace Barron, thanks Yasmin King

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association today welcomes Acting NSW Small Business Commissioner Candace Barron and thanks former NSW Small Business Commissioner Yasmin King for all of her hard work and dedication to small business over the last few years.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA and the retail sector have benefited greatly from Ms King’s ongoing support.

“On behalf of the ARA and the wider retail industry, I would like to wish Ms King every success for the future.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Australia's economy, representing 96 percent of all businesses in the country. In NSW alone, there are 680,000 small businesses employing around 50 percent of the NSW workforce.

“The ARA is eager to work alongside Candace Barron to ensure the retail sector remains viable and successful into the future. We also look forward to the announcement of the official new NSW Small Business Commissioner,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit or call 1300 368 041



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COSBOA supports war on red tape and inefficient compliance

THE Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) today congratulated the Federal Government on their “Repeal Day” initiative which will see the targeted removal of thousands of unnecessary compliance demands on business.

Peter Strong, Executive Director of COSBOA said Repeal Day represents a major milestone.

“The removal of red tape and the subsequent freeing up of small business people to run their companies, rather than do the work of governments has been a base aim of COSBOA since our founding in 1977.

“The announcement of “Repeal Day” in parallel with the stated aim of the government of removing $1 billion worth of compliance demands on business is exactly what we need.”

COSBOA and its member organisations are working with the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, who is tasked with achieving sense in business compliance.

COSBOA will be focusing on gathering information from small business people throughout Australia on what they want removed or changed and what difference it will make to their businesses.

“There is good compliance that is easy to manage, however there is also bad compliance processes. And, there are tasks we are asked to do, such as collecting superannuation, which get in the way of running small businesses.

“There are over 2 million business people who employ almost 5 million others, so removing unnecessary processes and red tape will add to the productivity of the economy, improve safety in the workplace and add to job security, in a profound and far reaching way,” Mr Strong concluded. 




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Chinese dragon lights-up Melbourne’s tourism scene

TODAY'S launch of the Docklands Dragon has been welcomed by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) for the benefit it will bring to the tourism economy.

The 100 metre-long dragon is part of the Chinese New Year celebrations and is on the corner of Bourke Street and Harbour Esplanade until Sunday 16 February 2014.

The static dragon will be lit-up at night and is surrounded by hawkers’ markets and entertainment over the two weeks.

“VTIC is excited to have assisted in activating the Docklands precinct for Chinese New Year 2014,” says VTIC Chief Executive, Dianne Smith.

“The Docklands Dragon has been brought to life by a range of private enterprises working together and we applaud this cooperation for the good of the visitor economy.”

Ms Smith’s comments come as the Docklands Dragon is officially launched by the Lord Mayor the Right Hon. Robert Doyle today.

The project has received overwhelming support from the City of Melbourne and Chinese community groups.

Led by John Forman of Eureka Skydeck, the group’s aim is to develop ongoing celebrations during Chinese New Year, in association with existing activities in Chinatown and Southbank, including at Crown Casino and Federation Square.

The attraction is part of a longer term plan to establish Melbourne as a key Chinese-friendly tourism destination by developing Chinese New Year celebrations in the City of Melbourne and across Victoria.  



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Retailers hopeful for February rate cut

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is calling on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to consider adjusting the current cash rate of 2.5 percent in order for the retail sector to contribute its full potential to the Australian economy in 2014.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said retailers are worried that a rate hike at this time of year would reverse the positive results that the industry has worked hard to achieve over the last few months, particularly during the booming Christmas period.

“The ARA believes the current cash rate has room for further adjustment and we have every hope that with the RBA’s support, the retail sector will experience a healthier and more successful year compared to the last.

“A reduction is also crucial to stimulate employment, particularly youth unemployment which has recently hit an 11-year low. The ARA is strongly concerned for the future of Australian retail workers and a reduction in the current cash rate would certainly support the retail industry and encourage employment opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow.

“The ARA is continuing to work alongside the government to rapidly implement its program of tax cuts and economic reform, and we urge the RBA to consider the retail sector when it meets to make their decision tomorrow,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit or call 1300 368 041.



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