The Federal Government is to be congratulated on its approach to balance the health concerns and economic needs of Australia, with a rapid closure of the nation and a three (3) staged approach for the restrictions to be relaxed. The stimulus offered by Cash Boost and Jobkeeper have been and will continue to be lifelines for many business.
The largest uncertainty for businesses right now is the risk of a second wave outbreak. Unfortunately, as the situation is unfolding in Victoria, it is clear that a whole of country or whole of state response leaves areas with low or no cases in an economically unsustainable holding pattern and this will need to be tweaked.
Businesses in Townsville and our surrounding regions are rightly confused and concerned at what an outbreak in Brisbane could mean for our businesses here. By all accounts, an outbreak will happen at some point, and without any certainty, some businesses have simply been taking a “wait and see” approach or have become a “zombie business” left in a holding pattern. These businesses do not or cannot plan into the future at the moment.
Fear, uncertainty and restrictions are having the largest effect on the speed in which businesses, and the local economy can recover at the moment.
The Federal Government is prepared to continue to help stimulate the economy where it is needed to give our businesses some small degrees of certainty and boost confidence to rebuild and find their niche post COVID-19.
Now is not the time for our governments to focus of levels of debt, but on how funds can be best used to sustain and stimulate the economy with nation building infrastructure projects to unite the regions across the country and encourage private investors and businesses to rebuild and become stronger from the challenges they have had to face to date and will have to continue to endure for some time yet as we move towards the “new normal” for businesses here in Townsville and across the nation.
We would like to see the Federal Government recognise the importance of regional areas to the national economy and lead by example to decentralise departments into the regions. Whilst also ensuring that decision makers who live in those regions are responsible and empowered to sign off and make decisions to ensure projects and budgets are delivered by businesses in those regions as quickly as possible. This will enable those industries that have not been as badly impacted by the pandemic to assist those areas of the economy that have been hardest hit.