Early results from a business survey show only one in two will be able to maintain current hours and staff levels when JobKeeper payments stop.
Early results from a business survey show only one in two will be able to maintain current hours and staff levels when JobKeeper payments stop.

Post JobKeeper slump a huge concern for regions

THE Advocate has obtained early results from a business survey which show the local economy is in for serious trouble when JobKeeper and other COVID-19 support packages wind up.

The early findings show that only one in two businesses surveyed will be able to maintain current hours and staffing levels once JobKeeper is wound back.

The Federal Government's $70 billion JobKeeper scheme is due to end in September.

Business NSW Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Kellon Beard says the results make for stark reading and don't paint a promising picture for the region.

"We are in the process of collating the results of a recent survey of over 1000 businesses across NSW and I thought I'd share with you some early findings because it's relevant to us in the regions," Mr Beard said.

While the information is stark, he says it's not surprising. It shows JobKeeper has been crucial to keeping businesses afloat with three out of four (74 per cent) of businesses saying staff are much better off because of JobKeeper.

Two in five (44 per cent) say they would be closed without JobKeeper.

But alarm bells really start ringing when looking to the future.

The survey shows that more than than one in three businesses (40 percent) say they have no plan to manage when payments stop.

Only one in two (51 per cent) will be able to maintain current hours and staffing levels when the payments stop.

Specific industries, most impacted by COVID-19 will need targeted support

Industries least likely to be running normally when JobKeeper ends are:

- arts and recreation services

- accommodation and food services

- education and training

- administrative and support services

- transport, postal and warehousing

- construction.

Business NSW Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Kellon Beard.
Business NSW Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Kellon Beard.

"Business NSW has been saying for some time that September was going to be the month where the true impacts of the epidemic hit home with JobKeeper set to end and a number of deferral measures the banks initiated at the start of the pandemic also due to expire," Mr Beard said.

"Business NSW is continuing to lobby for a more targeted supportive package for business post September, especially for those dependent on international tourists."

For Coffs Harbour tourism is a vital industry and the University (SCU) is also a big thing for the region - we need it here and we need it to remain prosperous."

Mr Beard is also calling on the government to review the current levels of support payments.

"Particularly to workers who are being paid more under JobKeeper than what they were earning before COVID."