Business conditions continue to flatline in Queensland
- ·Two in three businesses indicated their sales and profitability had declined during the quarter;
- 54% of businesses are concerned about their viability beyond 12-months when many of the stimulus measures end; and
- The easing of restrictions and anticipation of the border reopening credited for a slight increase in business sentiment.
Business conditions were anything but ordinary during the June quarter with the latest CCIQ-Suncorp Pulse Survey of Business Conditions showing COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc across Queensland.
The June quarter survey was conducted immediately after the height of the pandemic when forced closures heavily impacted trading, but as the initial easing of restrictions had begun.
CCIQ economist Jack Baxter stated that findings highlight the extreme stress businesses are still facing as nearly every indicator reflects the second-worst results on record.
"The majority of businesses are experiencing a downturn in their turnover and profitability, which is impacting all areas of their operations, including hiring intentions, capital investment and general productivity," Mr Baxter said.
"Despite ongoing uncertainty, there has been an improvement in business sentiment surrounding the performance of Queensland's economy, rising 11.9 points from March. This is credited to stimulus support, the easing of restrictions and anticipation of the border reopening" Mr Baxter stated.
CCIQ general manager of advocacy and policy, Amanda Rohan, states that optimism uplift presents a window of opportunity to grow business confidence. It is up to all political parties ahead of the State election to set out their plans for business and our economy.
"Right now, there is an opportunity to give business clarity and certainty on what's planned to rebuild Queensland's economy. Certainty breeds confidence, which is what is needed now," said Ms Rohan.
"From this survey, we can see businesses have a tinge of optimism, but 54% of businesses indicated they're concerned about their viability beyond 12-months, when many of the stimulus measures end.
"Currently, there is stimulus aiding businesses through this crisis period, but it won't last forever.
"What will last and what will strengthen our economy is business-friendly policies, activating infrastructure projects to give regions a flow of work and enabling businesses to connect, employ and grow.
"So now is the opportunity for parties to provide business and communities with the certainty they so desperately need, by unveiling their future plans.
"Business confidence and conditions in Queensland were at all-time lows before COVID hit, so there needs to be change.
"The role business plays in our communities must not be overlooked. They are vital. Not only as employers, but as the supporters of local community groups, sponsors of events and sporting groups, and a rich source of community engagement. There needs to be positive change to support their success, so they can continue supporting everyone around them," Ms Rohan said.
Suncorp Bank Head of Business Customers, John Debenham said business industries such as retail, tourism and hospitality were continuing to feel the impact of COVID-19.
"We would encourage those business that are concerned to discuss with their bank or broker some of the options to help get them through this challenging time. Having this conversation early is the best approach and can help businesses navigate the uncertainty we are facing," Mr Debenham said.