Youth Jobs will be a priority of Business NSW as the state looks to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.
Youth Jobs will be a priority of Business NSW as the state looks to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.

Youth jobs a priority in recharging the economy

BUSINESS NSW says a Youth Jobs Guarantee is one of the top 10 priorities in recharging the economy as the region looks to recover from COVID-19.

The state’s peak business organisation detailed their top 10 priorities in a new Business NSW report called Back On Track.

“This week’s economic and fiscal update from the Federal treasurer must give the business sector confidence about the road ahead, particularly given the new risks that have emerged in Victoria and NSW,” Business NSW regional manager Kellon Beard said.

“Uncertainty about the health crisis and the future of business support programs, such as JobKeeper, is having a massive chilling effect on the appetite of business owners to hire staff and invest for the future.”

Mr Beard said that the priorities will be in maintaining the ongoing operation of businesses and ensuring they are fully equipped moving forward.

“The recovery drivers discussed in our report are aimed at ensuring that businesses stay open, staff are rehired and that the foundations for future economic growth are set in place,” Mr Beard said.

The drivers include a Federal and State Government Compact committing to returning unemployment to below six per cent by June 2022 to provide greater certainty on the pathway ahead for businesses.

Business NSW would also like young people to be supported through a Youth Jobs Guarantee and for JobKeeper to be replaced with a new rebate to protect vulnerable jobs.

“Our future living standards depend on our resolve to reduce the cost of doing business and improving competition in markets. That is why we urgently need regulatory reform to drive business growth, concrete steps to improve NSW’s energy outlook and investment in new infrastructure to unlock economic capacity in regional NSW.”

Mr Beard said the organisation was also looking to encourage further collaboration between stakeholders on a national scale.

“We would also like to see greater co-operation, including through National Cabinet, to implement overdue reforms to federal financial relations, payroll tax and workplace relations,” Mr Beard said.

Business NSW conducted a Business Recovery Survey of more than a thousand businesses in June this year to better understand the operating environment and to identify what needs to be done to navigate the crisis through to the other side.

The survey suggests there are significant challenges ahead:

  • On average business revenue has fallen 43 per cent, around half of which is due to government restrictions on trade and a third due to lack of customer demand.
  • Around one in three recipient businesses have not planned for when JobKeeper payments stop
  • One in two recipients indicated they will be unable to maintain current hours and headcount after JobKeeper ends
  • Outbreaks in Victoria, and the subsequent risks to NSW, underscore the persistent threat posed by COVID-19. Before Victoria was locked-down, 24 per cent expected the economy to strengthen over the next three months. Now only 19 per cent are expecting an improvement
  • Tourism, construction, transport, hospitality and education businesses are least likely to be back to normal by October
  • Only 29 per cent of businesses said they would likely be in a position to hire new staff by October 2020.

“Despite the challenges ahead, there is a real opportunity to take advantage of Australia’s success in managing the health crisis,” Mr Beard said.

“Two in three businesses believe Australia will recover faster than comparable countries, while eight in ten businesses expect to be operating back to normal by October.

“In this global crisis, Australia has an opportunity to seize and then capitalise on its reputation as a safe and reliable place to invest, work and study.”.

Business NSW’s Research Report and Recovery Drivers are available at businessnsw.com.