Hannah Cifuentes holds up a ‘chefs wanted’ sign.
Hannah Cifuentes holds up a ‘chefs wanted’ sign.

Business outlook improves, but govt support still needed

BUSINESS activity is starting to improve on the Northern Rivers, with the latest data showing local entrepreneurs have a better outlook of their companies' future.

Business NSW's quarterly Business Conditions Survey revealed the first bounce in business confidence in a year.

The survey shows business perceptions about the performance of the NSW economy rebounded strongly from the record low recorded in June, according to Business NSW Regional Manager Jane Laverty.

"The outlook has also improved, with Northern Rivers businesses expecting further lifts in the economy for the remainder of 2020," she said.


"I am also heartened to see the priority for Northern Rivers businesses to hire people with the right skills and capabilities has increased by 36 points since June.

"Data (is) showing the top three capabilities sought in the region are planning and organising, communication and teamwork, a great heads up for our 2020 school leavers and an incentive to showcase these strengths when you apply for local jobs," Ms Laverty said.

The business representative said Business NSW is calling on the NSW Government to continue the jobs push by announcing a payroll tax rebate in next month's Budget.

"The impact of border closures has been evident, however unintended consequences have impacted industries differently and we know anecdotally that sole traders and those in the arts and entertainment sector here have found it harder to recover," she said.

"While some businesses are about to enter a difficult period as support measures are tapered back, its promising to see a strong foundation for recovery emerging in NSW and the Northern Rivers in particular.

"While fewer businesses are scaling back their capital spending and staffing levels, fewer businesses are in a position to expand without innovative support.

"Our survey also examined some of the factors common to businesses most affected by COVID-19.

"While business services, hospitality and tourism businesses are heavily impacted overall, business performance in these industries varies dramatically depending on location and the type of customers serviced, suggesting somewhat of a two-speed economy.

"Businesses located in a CBD (regional or metro) and reliant on foot traffic, for example, are among the most vulnerable, as are those reliant on international visitors."