NSW Business Chamber, Central Coast, is calling on all political parties to outline their policies for supporting business prior to the March 23 state election, with confidence in Gosford and throughout the region, alarmingly low.
Regional Director, Paula Martin, said energy costs and the uncertainty over the 2019 NSW and Federal elections, had contributed to subdued confidence felt by business owners all over the state, according to the Chamber’s latest quarterly survey.
“A quick glance at results for the Central Coast might suggest that confidence is rising and doing better than the state average, but that’s misleading though,” Martin said.
She said that although visitors to the region during the holiday period had lifted confidence somewhat, the lift was much lower for this time of year than was usual.
“To gather our information, we interview sample businesses from all different sectors on such things as their profits and their operational expenses, and we found confidence levels on the Coast had dropped,” Martin said.
“For us that is a concern.
“Many of our businesses are struggling with operational costs – payroll thresholds and energy expenses are hitting hard.
“So far, there is no clarity from any of the political parties on where their policies are in relation to business.
“We are calling for parties to commit to a review on the speed of infrastructure development, transport availability and rising energy costs.
“Transport connectivity here on the Coast is extremely important.
“We welcome news of a fast train service, but if Coast businesses are to employ more staff, particularly young staff, these staff members need to be able to get to the job.
“Youth unemployment on the Coast still sits at around 16%, and many young people have to take multiple buses and trains to get to a prospective job, and that is unacceptable.
“Our businesses can’t employ young people if they can’t get there.”
The Chamber is also calling for a pledge for a careers hub on the Central Coast.
“Imagine a careers hub, led by industry, where young people could find out where opportunities are in high growth industries like food and beverages, and be encouraged to apply for jobs which are available.
“With the state election now less than two months away, it is vital that those parties looking to form the next government understand the true nature of current business conditions and just how important it is to have policies that assist business to invest and create new jobs.”
Media release, Jan 24
NSW Business Chamber Central Coast
Interview, Jan 25
Paula Martin, NSW Business Chamber, Central Coast.