Coronavirus pandemic has put many businesses under pressure.
Coronavirus pandemic has put many businesses under pressure.

COVID-19 knocks Northern Rivers business confidence

FOLLOWING drought, bushfire, flood and now pandemic, business confidence across northern NSW has crashed, according to a recent survey by the state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW.

Businesses are scrambling to make rapid changes to adapt and survive the economic impact of COVID-19, according to the latest quarterly Business Conditions Survey.

The special COVID-19 edition of the survey, which attracted almost 2000 respondents from every part of the state, clearly shows the nature and extent of the impact that multiple economic shocks have had on the NSW economy over the first quarter of 2020.

“The responses from business owners across the State are no surprise, but at the same time make for very sober reading,” said Business NSW Northern Rivers regional manager Jane Laverty said.

“While it is clear that COVID-19 represents the most significant threat to the economy, some regions and industries have also been acutely impacted by other factors, such as bushfires and drought, which have had a concentrated impact in some parts of NSW.

“Businesses in the Northern Rivers who were also severely impacted by bushfires both directly and indirectly, and particularly within the visitor economy, have now been hit even harder with this pandemic.

“Survey results have shown the most in-demand capabilities for employers in prospective staff across the region are, planning and organising, communication, team work and problem solving.”

Mrs Laverty said there was a doubling of COVID-19-related revenue losses reported by respondents between weeks one and two of the survey period, a worrying sign for Business NSW.

“All of these trends are consistent with what has been observed through daily engagement with members of Business NSW over past weeks and demonstrate why it’s so important that every tier of government do all that is possible to keep businesses in operation and staff employed,” she said.

“When given the all clear to resume normal business operations, we need to be in the best possible position to do that as quickly as possible.”.