Desperate plea as business hits ‘crisis point’
BUSINESS confidence has crashed to levels that eclipse the global financial crisis, sparking calls for the Palaszczuk Government to cut red tape and bankroll infrastructure to resuscitate the Queensland economy.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the latest Suncorp Pulse Survey, to be released today, will detail how 70 per cent of the state's businesses had suffered plunging profits during the coronavirus crisis.
Conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, the survey of more than 2400 owners and operators found almost half had sacked staff and reduced hours with the majority anticipating more cuts would come.
Business had now reached a "crisis point", CCIQ advocacy and policy manager Amanda Rohan warned, and reducing regulation, as well as fast-tracking infrastructure, was needed to prevent many collapsing.
"We cannot go back to governments hiding behind inefficient regulations and processes bogged down in bureaucracy," Ms Rohan said.
She said that a pipeline of road, rail, resources and waste infrastructure, prioritised by economic benefit rather than political convenience, was urgently needed.
Investing in new industries was also essential.
"Now is the time to recalibrate, diversify and invest in transformational projects and policies to accelerate our economy so that Queensland becomes a more eco-efficient, productive and resilient," Ms Rohan said.
The report, conducted throughout April, showed confidence was grim, with the outlook for the national economy over the next 12 months crashing by 28.4 point, while the outlook for the Queensland economy fell by 25.1 points.
Trading conditions plummeted below the record low chalked up in the December edition of the long-running survey, with 83 per cent of respondents expecting conditions to worsen over coming months. According to the results, 43 per cent of businesses had reduced employment levels and 58 per cent anticipated that they would be forced to make further cuts.
CCIQ economist Jack Baxter said businesses in the southeast and the far north were being hit hardest because of the impact of lockdowns on hospitality and tourism.
"Right now, some businesses are in a state of compulsory hibernation, where their sole focus has been on finding ways to stay afloat in the months to come," Mr Baxter said.
"There is no motivation to invest in people or assets because there is such widespread uncertainty and this is the primary concern for the long-term recovery of our economy" he said.
Originally published as Desperate plea as business hits 'crisis point'