Lifting restrictions needed to save businesses and jobs
Far North Queensland continues to experience the worst levels of business sentiment in the State and the long-term outlook for business remains blurred by uncertainty, especially as stimulus support begins to taper off said the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
The latest Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions, a quarterly survey conducted to give a snapshot of business conditions in Queensland, found that while there was some recovery this quarter, the economy is stalled due to ongoing restrictions.
Key results in the Far North Queensland region show:
- One-half of all businesses are still experiencing a reduction in profitability;
- 70 per cent of businesses are anticipating that the economy will perform even weaker over the forward 12 months;
- Nearly all surveyed businesses (99%) believe they could only survive up to 12 months when stimulus support ends.
CCIQ economist Jack Baxter said that while overall business sentiment increased from the previous quarter, the forecasted trends are plateauing well short of a full recovery.
“The results of the latest survey show businesses feel the recovery being experienced to date will be as good as it gets if there are no changes to current operating conditions,” Mr Baxter said.
Mr Baxter flagged that the September quarter’s Hot Topic Survey raised further concern, with nearly all Queensland businesses now uncertain about their survival during the New Year as stimulus support ends.
“When stimulus support ends, and when loan repayments, deferrals and tax breaks resume, businesses must be standing on their own two feet. This is unlikely, as ninety-nine per cent of businesses indicating they are unsure of their ability to operate beyond 12-months without support, especially if current restrictions are not lifted,” Mr Baxter said.
Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO said the additional stress to business in the Cairns region is the unknown longevity of the ongoing crisis impacting tourism.
“Businesses are beginning to feel that our tourism may never be the same, at least in the short term and this is taking a toll on their long-term outlook. In addition to all the ongoing struggles, we are heading into the our traditional weather ‘disaster’ season. There really needs to be an uplift for our local businesses, and that will come from easing restrictions and allowing them to open up and maximise the best they can for the summer season. The Christmas season is crucial for businesses, and we need to give them a real opportunity to fully open up and trade viably, so they can stay open and keep their staff employed,” Ms O'Neill said.
Suncorp Executive General Manager Business Banking Glenn Haslam said businesses have had a challenging year however it’s pleasing to see that for the majority, business confidence is returning as restrictions ease.
“Whether it’s a cotton farmer in regional Queensland or restaurant owner on the Gold Coast, businesses across Queensland have shown their spirit and determination by adapting to meet their customers’ needs and changed circumstances this year,” Mr Haslam said. "Although there is still a long way to go, as always Suncorp is there to help our customers get through these difficult times.”
To review the results of the Pulse Survey click here Sept Qtr Pulse Survey Results
About the PULSE Survey
The Pulse Survey has measured Queensland business confidence and expectations quarterly for over 20 years. It is unchallenged in terms of being the most authoritative, timely and comprehensive snapshot of Queensland business sentiment providing critical insights into the opinions of business owners across the State. The Survey contains data from a sample covering the entire range of the business community.
The survey period was from the 1st to 15th of July 2020 and examines business sentiment and activity throughout the June quarter 2020. 1,167 participants responded to the Survey.
What is the Pulse Business Index?
The Pulse Business Index (PBI) is Queensland’s most authoritative, timely and comprehensive snapshot of business sentiment. The PBI works by utilising the quantitative responses from businesses to questions surrounding the forward outlook for the state and national economy, and key performance indicators. A PBI reading of 50 would indicate that performance growth has remained neutral. On the other hand, a PBI reading above or below 50 would suggest that performance across the indicator has grown or fallen, respectively. The following scale is useful in interpreting the performance of the PBI indicator:
Very Weak: 0-20
Very Strong: 81-100