Map of NSW displays the level of confidence in the business sector across the state.
Map of NSW displays the level of confidence in the business sector across the state. NSW BUSINESS CHAMBER

Infrastructure key as survey shows shaky business confidence

BUILDING major infrastructure in the Northern Rivers is the key to stimulating the region's economy, according to the NSW Business Chamber.

The chamber has released its latest quarterly Business Condition Survey and identified the fragile confidence in the sector across the state.

Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber general manager Jane Laverty said one of the major focuses to build confidence in the Northern Rivers should be continued investment in infrastructure.

"For the Northern Rivers, a renewed focus on game-changing infrastructure that stimulates all sectors of the economy will provide stability in business confidence and provide much-needed jobs locally," Mrs Laverty said.

"So, the NSW Government really needs to get on with the delivery of infrastructure, particularly infrastructure promised to regional NSW."

The survey indicates business owners have been able to retain staff over the last quarter, after staffing drops during the previous report.

While many responders said they were doing it tough, there was optimism in the wake of the state and federal elections.

"The survey shows business on the Northern Rivers expect a rebound in conditions next quarter," Mrs Laverty said.

"In part, that could have something to do with the tax cuts the government promised it would provide, and perhaps also because there was a drop-off in anti-business rhetoric following the election outcome.

"The recent passing of the tax package will provide some good news as consumers will have more money in their pocket to spend on discretionary items.

"While there are tentative signs business confidence could improve over the next quarter, the reality for government is that these expectations are fragile."

Drought-stricken areas of the state reported the lowest levels of business confidence, while those on the Central Coast and in the Riverina had the highest levels of confidence.

The full survey results can be found on the chamber's website.