New plan as some businesses lose $160k in a month

A BOLD new plan that could drag entire economies out of the COVID-19 crisis has been revealed, as new data shows the real financial cost of the pandemic on local businesses.

Data collected from business owners by the Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce has revealed the average loss in turnover for businesses across the region's economy was expected to be $55,000 this month, compared to February's pre-pandemic earnings.

Some sectors were harder hit than others, with businesses in the accommodation and food industry forecasting a $160,000 loss this month alone, while those in the health sector which includes gyms expected to lose $105,000.

Rent, hire and real estate service businesses were also expected to fall short by $150,000 in April while retailers could lose $110,000.

Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce president Rebecca Young says the construction industry could save the economy from long term impacts of COVID-19.
Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce president Rebecca Young says the construction industry could save the economy from long term impacts of COVID-19.

Chamber president Rebecca Young said "low-hanging fruit" businesses - those which were only moderately affected by the crisis - were the ones that needed immediate support, and not those that had already been hit full-force.

"So that when hugely impacted businesses return (there is money to invest in them)," Ms Young said.

She said manufacturing and construction were two key industries that needed investment to create jobs and provide a framework of growth that other business could levy once the COVID-19 recovery began.

"It trickles down into other sectors quite quickly, so by the time the likes of hospitality and tourism come back online … people will be employed and they can spend their money on going out to dinner and going on trips.

"There's really not much that can be done for the tourism industry right now.

"Our advocacy has to be placed in a sector that can have immediate economic impact - that's not going to happen in tourism and restaurants."

She said with the economic benefits would extend not only to construction companies and contractors but also to industries like manufacturing.

"When you start to poke around, there are some really cool manufacturers in this city that employ a lot of people.

"When we look at promoting construction … we look at those offshoot industries - if construction's healthy then their business is healthy."



Cleveland-based Network Steel and Aluminium employs 80 locals and managing director Peter McConnell said while the business was able to continue work while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions "our true challenge lies ahead".

"Within the next couple of months, when the pipeline of new home builds requiring our structural steel beam and column assemblies begins to dry up due to lack of new home builds going to contract … sadly inevitable in this current environment," Mr McConnell said.

"The road to recovery will require a concerted effort by council and construction industry alike, to ensure that we can immediately embark on shovel ready construction projects to get our local economy moving again, to enable our business and our construction industry as a whole to continue to employ local people.

"Proactively creating an environment where we can all "live and work" within the Redlands will be the key to success for our community as a whole as we exit COVID-19."

Ms Young said the trickle down effect reached retailers supplying hardware, appliances for homes and furnishings.

"Even just by the very nature of a new house build you've got to buy ovens (and so on)."


Originally published as New plan as some businesses lose $160k in a month