7th July 2020

    The PVW Partners Quarterly Townsville Business Confidence Index shows business owners and managers are more optimistic about their immediate future than they were three months ago, with a better than expected set of results as Townsville begins its recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    PVW Partners Managing Partner Carl Valentine said while business confidence remains in negative territory, it has increased slightly from the June figures, moving upwards by two index points.

    “The results of the September Business Confidence Index suggest the economic impacts of COVID-19 haven’t been as bad or far reaching as local businesses initially feared them to be. There is no doubt that State and Federal Government assistance measures have assisted in cushioning the blow and have been received well by operators,” Mr Valentine said.

    “Respondents indicated that while impacts may not be as dire as anticipated, businesses are still cutting back budgets on entertainment and capital expenditure with air travel expenditure unsurprisingly also diminishing. Interestingly, and perhaps due to initiatives such as JobKeeper payments, only 11 per cent of respondents expect to reduce employment numbers over the next quarter while 18 per cent of respondents actually expected to increase staffing.

    Positively, one third of respondents are looking at increasing their advertising and promotions spend during this immediate recovery period; however, this may be due to the grants and funding programs available in this space from government.”

    In previous Surveys, there have been marked differences between big and small business response but this quarter shows that the difference is quite minimal. Similarly, the mining and non-mining sectors are showing relatively similar results.

    Respondents were asked to rate 11 key factors they believe would impact the viability and recovery of their businesses in the face of a national recessionary environment.

    “Interestingly, more than 73 per cent of respondents indicated they expected changes in their customer behavior following the COVID shutdown to negatively impact their business, while more than a third believe the opening of the Queensland border will have no impact on the recovery of their operations,” Mr. Valentine said.

    “Not surprisingly, more than 72 per cent of respondents said government restrictions around capacity in venues would have a negative impact on the viability of their business over coming months. With that in mind, the recent announcements around further relaxation of these restrictions will be welcome news for many of our local businesses.

    “Almost 70 per cent of businesses indicated government assistance has assisted positively in their recovery efforts, while the same number said future government assistance will positively impact business viability.

    “Infrastructure spend was also identified as key to recovery efforts, with almost 80 per cent of respondents saying government and private sector infrastructure spend would assist their business to survive the pandemic.”

    Access to appropriate levels of finance and regionally relevant business regulatory and taxation reform were also identified as priorities in the Townsville business community recovery effort.


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