Speech – RDA Gold Coast Survey on COVID-19
16 Jun | '2020
I rise to speak about a survey which has been released by Regional Development Australia on the Gold Coast, which reveals how deeply affected local businesses are by the COVID-19 pandemic. It found that 92 per cent of Gold Coast businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, including those who are not being paid on time for completed work, reduced demand for services and the closure of other businesses. Businesses cite higher staffing costs to split workforces and create social distance, less efficiency, fewer customers, uncertain economic future affecting staff morale, and difficulties travelling to remote client sites. It also showed the significant impact of the federal government’s stimulus package, including the JobKeeper program, which has allowed businesses to keep staff paid through the crisis. This is why I established the Moncrieff City Heart task force: to ensure that city leaders across the key sectors of small business, tourism, education, retail, the night economy, construction and marine are all working together to develop a cohesive framework to hasten our recovery, create job opportunities and rebuild our city’s heart. It has been disappointing to see the ongoing uncertainty, can I say, continuing from the Queensland Premier around the border reopening on 10 July. Reopening the interstate border is the first step towards restarting the economy. Tourism Research Australia figures show that in 2019 interstate tourists spent a remarkable $2.49 billion on the Gold Coast. Businesses need certainty so they can prepare and invest. Every day the borders are closed it costs our economy jobs and livelihoods.