Business confidence across the Riverina remains strong despite operators reporting revenue losses due to drought impact, the latest NSW Business Chamber quarterly report shows.
The NSWBC Business Conditions report shows that despite revenue being down by an average of 20 per cent, the Riverina’s businesses reported an above-average confidence.
In June, it was behind only the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region in confidence levels.
Richard Pottie, managing director of Ladex Construction Group in Bomen, participated in the NSWBC survey and said government stability contributed to confidence.
“Since we’ve got stability back at all levels of government, there’s been a marked turnaround,” Mr Pottie said.
“There was certainly an impact on the whole industry during the turmoil [of the byelection].”
Asked about challenges ahead, Mr Pottie, who has more than 25 years in the industry, said it needed to ensure more jobs were generated.
“Otherwise, the industry will suffer,” he said.
“But it seems to be a good level of confidence across the industrial and commercial sector of construction.”
Mr Pottie cited the continuous engagement in innovation and research and development as key to confidence.
“We invest and look at ways to do things better,” he said.
“We’ve got to be multi-disciplined and need to have a diversified workforce.”
We’ve got to be multi-disciplined and need to have a diversified workforce.Richard Pottie, managing director of Ladex Construction Group
Wagga Business Chamber president Danielle Pascoe welcomed the news and said that more could still be done to increase the region’s confidence.
“We enjoy a stable economy in the Riverina, which makes it a great place to do business,” Mrs Pascoe said.
“We have recently partnered with NSWBC to offer an energy comparison to make sure businesses in our area are getting the best deal.
“We invite any businesses who are wishing to take this no cost opportunity to identify cost savings to please contact us.”
However, across the state, the NSWBC said business confidence took a hit for the quarter primarily due to the impact of drought.
New England North West and Central West had the sharpest deterioration in business confidence for the state.
“While NSW remains number one – with 151,000 new jobs created within the past year and the lowest unemployment rate in Australia – we are seeing the impacts of the drought hit business,” NSWBC president Stephen Cartwright said.
“Lower levels of capital spending this quarter show businesses are tightening their belts and delaying major spending decisions.”
Mr Cartwright said there were three key areas that can be improved to increase confidence.
“We need to see a stronger commitment for affordable energy, drought-focused support services that assist businesses – like ATO payment plans to assist tax obligations in drought stricken areas – and a renewed focus on delivering skills training for our young people,” he said.
“From a State Government standpoint, focus needs to remain on delivering the infrastructure spending (especially in rural and regional NSW) to make sure that our economy goes from strength-to-strength.
From a State Government standpoint, focus needs to remain on delivering the infrastructure spending (especially in rural and regional NSW) to make sure that our economy goes from strength-to-strength.Stephen Cartwright, CEO of NSW Business Chamber
“While many members of our business community are being rocked by factors beyond their control, the government has the ability to stimulate an even stronger economy.”
The snapshot report comes after the NSWBC conducted a survey in August about the impact of drought in which 84pc of NSW businesses showed they were impacted.
The Riverina had 40 respondents to the chamber’s survey. Results for individual industries, regions and other categories should be treated with caution.
NSW Business Conditions: September 2018
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