Tough times for NSW business: chamber

Next year is shaping up to be another tough one for NSW businesses following a very hard 2012, the state's business chamber says.

Firms are grappling with a volatile international economy, subdued domestic consumer confidence and an explosion of new federal government regulations and taxes, NSW Business Chamber chief executive Stephen Cartwright says.

The chamber's conditions survey for 2012 showed key indicators returning to near Global Financial Crisis levels, he said in an end-of-year statement on Thursday.

"While we've seen some positive reforms from the NSW government to reduce the burden of running a business and employing Australians, it feels as if the federal government has taken the opposite approach by introducing new taxes and regulations."

Mr Cartwright said there was no indication the international economy would improve dramatically in 2013 or that pressure would be taken off the high Australian dollar.

"The only silver lining may be further reductions in interest rates, but the benefit of those cuts will depend on the major banks passing on the full savings to their business and mortgage customers," he said.

Mr Cartwright praised the NSW government for reforms put through in 2012 to strengthen the state's economy and allow business operators to focus on growing their businesses and create new jobs.

Reform of the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme had saved 12,600 jobs and a new business regulation taskforce was helping fix problems caused by regulatory headaches in the workplace, he said.

Mr Cartwright criticised the federal government for increasing the tax and regulatory burden on Australian businesses in 2012.

He cited the start of the carbon and mining taxes, an unsatisfactory inquiry into the Fair Work Act and a drive to generate a razor-thin budget surplus that included "clawing as much money out of the business community as possible".

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