Jane Laverty, NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers Regional Manager
Jane Laverty, NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers Regional Manager

Businesses are looking away from China to bolster profits

Businesses organisations have welcomed government support to reduce the local economy's dependence on China.

Last week, chair of the Northern Rivers chapter of Regional Development Australia (RDA), Don Page, said the organisation will focus this year in supporting businesses to reduce their dependence on the Asian country.

Business NSW regional manager Jane Laverty said Mr Page made some good points on this topic.

"It is timely for us to remind everyone that diversifying our supply chains, in both import and export markets, will be an important part of mitigating political risk, supporting our recovery and the advancement of more resilient economic development models in 2021," she said.

"There is also an opportunity for Australian-based manufacturers to fill the gaps that might arise through a reduction of imports, and the best way to support this is with reform that will improve conditions for business and reduce the cost of doing business, particularly in the regions.

"This would also include ongoing support for attracting and supporting appropriately skilled staff and incentives for training programs to support the advancement of existing staff in businesses."

Ms Laverty also said reducing the local economy's export market reliance on any one market is a good idea.

"In my discussion with Northern Rivers manufacturers and makers they have been exploring opportunities to grow the range of new exports markets for some time.

"They are having success with the Middle East and the Asian markets (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as Japan and the US," she explained.

Ms Laverty said the NSW Government's Export Assistance Grant has been highly valued by some local businesses seeking to expand in this area, same as the Federal Government's Export Market Development Grant administered by Austrade, which can work alongside the State grant, and is also proving to be an important support.