While Central Coast businesses have shown their resilience and optimism in the face of COVID-19, this confidence can be quickly eroded by lockdowns, border closures and the easing of government support, says Business NSW Central Coast.
Regional Director, Paula Martin, said in Business NSW’s December Business Conditions Survey, NSW businesses said they were turning the corner following the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The survey clearly showed resilience and optimism in the sector, with Central Coast confidence doubling for the quarter,” Martin said.
“The survey, conducted right across NSW, showed business confidence was positive for the first time since June 2018, but much of the survey was completed prior to the Christmas lockdowns.
“Optimism for increased local sales in the lead up to Christmas almost tripled on the Central Coast and local business were gearing up for expanded capacity to meet demand.
“Pleasingly we also saw a reduction in supply chain, distribution and transport issues.”
But Martin said despite overall increases in confidence, 23 per cent of businesses claimed they are at a high risk of failure when supports such as JobKeeper, tax relief, interest waivers and other measures conclude.
“This vulnerability will hang over the small business sector for much of the year and will need to be factored into decisions about withdrawing support measures.” she said.
Martin said finding people with the right skills had become the number one priority for Coast business and a growing area of concern.
“Technology and problem solving skills are in deep need,” she said.
“The NSW Government has done a good job in listening to business needs and responding as soon as possible by easing restrictions and opening up communities.
“However, since the survey results were finalised, swift decisions like lockdowns and border closures (have increased) the fragility of business.”
Media release, Jan 19
Business NSW Central Coast