South West businesses fear a bleak future

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald

South West business confidence will struggle to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.

The CCIWA released the Regional Pulse report last week and revealed the majority of regional businesses across WA expected conditions to worsen over the next 12 months.

CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey said businesses in the South West and Great Southern were some of the worst affected by current border restrictions and were more pessimistic about their survival once JobKeeper ends.

Half of the businesses in the South West and Great Southern regions indicated falling employment in the June quarter.

Aaron Morey

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About a third of businesses surveyed in these regions are suffering from international and interstate border restrictions to a ‘great’ or ‘moderate’ extent, which could reflect the importance of tourism in the area.

Of businesses surveyed in the South West and Great Southern, 41 per cent were not confident they could survive without JobKeeper, due to expire in late September.

Businesses in the South West and Great Southern are also the most concerned in the State around wage pressures, with 38 per cent indicating they expect labour costs to increase next quarter, compared to 26 per cent for the State.

Aaron Morey

Looking forward, businesses from these regions gave the strongest indication across the State they would increase production next quarter.

Mr Morey said this could be a reflection of the benefit of opening regional borders to places such as Margaret River.

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