Third COVID Business Conditions Survey released

18 Aug 2020 |

Business trading conditions across the country have not improved despite the easing of restrictions in many states, the latest ACCI survey of small to medium businesses has found.

ACCI’s third COVID Business Conditions Survey has found travel restrictions (interstate, intrastate and international) are having a significant impact on more than half of Australian businesses, worsening following the Victorian outbreak.

“Movement of people and goods around and in and out of our country is paramount to the success of Australian businesses and creating jobs,” ACCI Chief Economist Dr Ross Lambie said.

“Interstate travel restrictions are having the biggest impact, with more than one in four businesses hindered by them. This has been exacerbated by NSW and South Australia closing their borders to Victoria.

“What this survey tells us is that we need a new roadmap from National Cabinet indicating when borders will be reopened – businesses need clarity so they can plan ahead, particularly towards the Christmas season when they would normally put on more staff to meet increased demand.”

The third survey has shown the second wave outbreak in Victoria has been a severe blow to business confidence, with businesses’ concerns about their viability and that of the overall economy returning to the high levels observed at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March.

There was no reported improvement in trading conditions nationally despite the easing of the trading restrictions in most states since May –  80% of businesses have experienced a greater than 25% decrease in revenue relative to July last year and 36% a severe decline of greater than 80%.

JobKeeper has by far been the most important of the Government support measures (accessed by almost 90% of small businesses surveyed).

“We know that JobKeeper has kept many businesses going and people in business are telling us they need it to continue to help them rebuild through the recovery phase,” Dr Lambie said.

“While the extension of JobKeeper comes as much relief to many businesses, it is also delaying the hard question facing many businesses – should they stay open or close their doors permanently? Only 60 per cent indicated they are in a position to operate without Government support.

“It is a very challenging time for people in business. What we should be encouraging through this is long term resilience. If people have to close their businesses, we must keep their entrepreneurial spirit alive and encourage them to get back out there.”

Marie Hogg

Senior Adviser - Media

P  |  0431 299 518

E  |  [email protected]

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