Future looking positive but more stimulus is needed
GLADSTONE is well placed to thrive post COVID-19 according to the former Federal Special Minister of State, but stimulus measures are needed in some sectors say the Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Joe Smith said stimulus measures should be focused on businesses that will continue to have restrictions on operations and clientele.
These businesses include hospitality and tourism industries.
“A second round of cash flow boost stimulus would be welcomed after the current amounts of between $20,000 to $100,000 are processed, as this will help businesses keep people employed or take on new employees if JobKeeper ends,” Mr Smith said.
Another factor for tourism businesses was the current border closures, Mr Smith said.
“Tourism across Australia has been affected by State and National border closures so if these are to remain closed for health reasons then businesses in this sector will require additional assistance until borders reopen,” he said.
A way out of the doldrums for tourism and hospitality businesses was for locals to buy local.
“Businesses and individuals need to buy local and support businesses in our region to keep them operating to the best that they can,” Mr Smith said.
“Investment in infrastructure for local, state and federal government will also provide an economic benefit if projects are ready to go ahead in the near future.”
Mr Smith said the GCCI was still waiting on figures for the number of businesses forced to close due to COVID.
Former Federal Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, said the Gladstone region was well placed to thrive post Covid due to its resources and agriculture industries.
“The gas industry has driven the region’s economy and with the beef and agricultural industries, I see coming out of COVID, that you have to look to those industries that probably have not been as affected as many others during the restrictions to really lead the recovery,” he said.
“The gas industry has been continuing to operate through the restrictions and it will be a leading industry to help take Gladstone out of COVID.”
Chairman of the Mulloon Institute for Environment, Farming and Society, Mr Nairn said the region’s fertile soils will play a key role in the COVID recovery for Gladstone and Australia.
“I see agriculture as being an absolute key opportunity in that regard, because animals have had to continue to grow, crops have continued grow, so its not as if agriculture stopped like some industries were forced to,” he said.
“A lot of agriculture has been able to keep going so it could really take off when restrictions are lifted.”