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Tough going

Friday, 26th July, 2019

RDA Far West’s Michael Williams. PICTURE: Callum Marshall RDA Far West’s Michael Williams. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Regional Development Australia Far West’s Michael Williams has encouraged Hillites to support local businesses and buy locally following a recent survey which highlighted how businesses across the state have been doing it tough.

The New South Wales Business Chamber’s ‘Business Conditions Survey’ for the June 2019 quarter revealed retail turnover was trending downwards.

Western NSW Business Chamber Regional Manager Vicki Seccombe said the survey highlighted how regional businesses were doing it particularly tough.

“The impact of the drought cannot be overstated and is continuing to hurt businesses right across the state,” she said.

“Our businesses in the Far West and Orana reported some of the worst business conditions in the state, with one of our businesses noting it was the hardest climate that they have operated in 24 years. 

“Unfortunately, that sentiment is widespread. 

The Far West and Orana region indexed business confidence was at -46.9, which implies that survey respondents view business conditions getting weaker. 

Of the 15 different regions assessed, the Far West and Orana figure was better than only one other region.

In response to the survey’s findings, Mr Williams said it was important that the local community helped improve business confidence by supporting local businesses.

“Now is definitely a time (when) we need to look more at supporting our local businesses to make sure they survive through this,” he said.

“I hear people say all the time that ‘I can’t buy it locally, I bought it straight online.’ But I’m not sure that we (do) look locally all the time.

“And I think as locals we probably (let) it slip our mind. 

“I fully appreciate that we can’t buy everything locally, but if we all bought locally where we can I think that makes a huge difference to the sustainability of our local businesses.”

He said businesses had a lot more to offer the community than just something that could be bought straight away.

“Small business supports our community, sponsors events and sporting clubs and supports junior kids to go away and play sport,” said Mr Williams.

“(And) if we don’t have those local businesses, who provides their sponsorship?

“So we might’ve saved a dollar by buying something online but what’s the long term impact for our community?

“If we don’t consider those type of things, especially now in really harsh business times, we won’t have those businesses locally and we won’t have that option to just go get (what we want) now.”

With the NSW Business Chamber survey also revealing how businesses had to shed staff across the quarter and how greater infrastructure spending was needed, Mr Williams said community had to play a part as well. 

“I haven’t heard of many businesses shedding staff locally so I would seriously hope that’s not going to be an issue for us,” he said.

“And regardless of the situation of business or sustainability of our communities, you can always put forward an argument for increased infrastructure spending, education, health, whatever it might be. 

“And that’s critical and it makes a massive difference, but it’s certainly not the only answer.

“As a community we all need to do our part, whether that’s supporting funding applications for infrastructure redevelopment or simply just buying locally.

“So we need to make a conscious decision about how we support our local businesses to make sure that they’re (still) there (over the next few years).”


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