United appeal by chambers across the state



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COVID-19 has had a devastating effect for Queensland’s small businesses. Image: Newsport.

Chambers of Commerce across Queensland have united in an appeal for a COVID-19 Recovery Plan from the Palaszczuk Government.

The virus has resulted in devastating economic effects, particularly for Queensland’s small business sector. 

A recent survey conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) found:

  • 17% of businesses were forced to close;
  • 39% maintained only essential operations;
  • 40% of businesses laid off casual staff and/or stood down permanent staff; and
  • Over half of business surveyed reported a 50% or more decrease in revenue.

It is unknown if the Douglas Chamber is part of this appeal. They were contacted but were unavailable for comment.

To date, Governments have responded with economic relief stimulus, but there is now a need to be planning on how we will recover. The Government must provide support to revive business so that they can rebuild and transform Queensland post-COVID-19, according to the CCIQ.

Cairns Chamber of Commerce has joined CCIQ and Chambers across the State to create a list of measures that must be considered to achieve outcomes that will help Queensland recover and prosper in the future.

Cairns Chamber’s CEO Patricia O’Neill has said it’s imperative that there is a plan in place now, so Cairns businesses are supported and able to emerge more efficient and resilient than before. 

“Firstly, we recognise working within the current health advice is paramount, but what we are asking for is planning the recovery phase. 

“There is no magic solution, there is no quick fix, and that is why Chambers across Queensland are combining to ask the Government to look at the way they do business with business,” said Mrs O’Neill.

CCIQ’s general manager of advocacy and policy, Amanda Rohan, says regions and businesses across Queensland need to be considered in this plan.

“The economic shocks of this crisis are not yet fully realised, businesses are vulnerable and to assume they can turn everything back on after months of hibernation without a recovery plan is risky business,” Ms Rohan said.

“We want to start working with the Government now to put a recovery plan in place for businesses to have the confidence to emerge as restrictions are eased 

“Providing a line of sight on potential staged easing of restrictions and outlining an economic recovery plan to support this, will ensure businesses can keep staff in jobs, have time to activate their own recovery strategies and re-connect with their customers.

“Our everyday lifestyles have changed, so it is unreasonable for everything to return to business as normal, support and strategies must be in place to give businesses the confidence to continue in the ‘new normal’ that awaits,” Ms Rohan said.

Cairns Chamber and CCIQ have compiled a list of proposed measures and strategies which include:

  • SME recovery concessional loan package
  • SME grants of $10,000
  • Apprentice and Trainee wage subsidies
  • ‘Shovel ready’, maintenance and transformational infrastructure investment program. 

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