Business confidence across the Townsville region is soaring according to new survey results from PVW Partners.
And their optimism is backed up by another new report – the Townsville and North West Queensland Economic Outlook.
Prepared by by Regional Economic Advisory and Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA), it points to the potential for improved economic performance in 2021.
The PVW Partners March 2021 Business Confidence Survey has recorded the second highest result in its 30-year history, with confidence across the Townsville region increasing by 10 index points.
Managing partner Carl Valentine said the results showed business confidence was at its highest in 14 years.
“The last time we saw results this positive was right before the Global Financial Crisis in 2007,” he said.
“Coming out of one of the most economically uncertain years in recent history, it is fantastic to see the Townsville business community regaining its confidence in such a big way.”
Mr. Valentine said 98 per cent of respondents indicated they would remain at their current employment level or would look to expand their teams within the next three months.
JobKeeper, Cash Flow Boost and grants like the HomeMaker had accelerated the recovery from the business restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19, he said.
“These grants, combined with major projects coming online or increasingly likely to proceed, have created the confidence and stimulus in our economy they were designed for with those that have been affected by the COVID-19 restrictions still able to spend money, maintain their workforces and support local businesses,” he said.
“Another huge takeaway from these results is the amount of predicted sales increases among local businesses, with 60 per cent of respondents looking positively towards the next quarter, which is the highest it’s been since September 2019.
“This survey has also shown us the biggest jump in confidence since June 2018 which is testament to the fact that Townsville businesses are incredibly resilient and are well poised to continue the region’s economic growth after a long period of economic malaise that has been interrupted by not only COVID-19 but also the 2019 monsoonal flooding.
“Our business community is getting back on track and looking very positively towards the future.”
Matthew Kelly of Regional Economic Advisory said the region’s economic outlook for 2021 was looking positive despite COVID-19 having a devastating impact on a number of industries – in particular tourism, aviation, hospitality and international education.
“With decreasing unemployment in some areas, increasing building approvals and a strong pipeline of projects throughout the region, we are seeing signs of improved economic performance ” he said.
“While COVID-19 is still present, economic risks remain.
“We will need to watch closely as the Jobkeeper and Jobseeker subsidy programs conclude, and issues around the availability and affordability of insurance in the region remains a critical factor disrupting the economic recovery.
“However, with major projects proposed across agriculture, tourism, mining, and energy, and base metal prices recovering, we should see sustained, if not improved, economic performance in the region in 2021”.