CCI WA Regional Pulse Report October 2020 | Supply chain impacts South West businesses

47 per cent of South West businesses in the survey reported that disruption to their supply chain had the biggest impact since WA's hard border was introduced. Image by Shutterstock.
47 per cent of South West businesses in the survey reported that disruption to their supply chain had the biggest impact since WA's hard border was introduced. Image by Shutterstock.

Businesses in the South-West, Perth, Peel, Wheatbelt and Mid-West have reported that disruption to their supply chain has been the biggest impact since WA's hard border was introduced.

The finding was released in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA's Regional Pulse Report which breaks down results from its September 2020 WA Super CCIWA Business Confidence Survey.

Businesses in the Kimberley, Goldfields-Esperance and Pilbara and Gascoyne regions appear most affected by interstate border closures, while a higher proportion in the South West and Wheatbelt and Mid-West suffer from international border restrictions.

CCI WA chief economist Aaron Morey said WA's regional businesses expected to face tougher conditions than their metro peers, with 45 per cent expecting economic conditions to worsen in the next 12 months, compared to less than 30 per cent in Perth.

Mr Morey said while some regions have begun to recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis, WA's hard border was aggravating key concerns, namely skills shortages, supply chain issues and poor access to customers.

"Businesses in the South-West were among the most confident in the economy for the next quarter, with 41 per cent expecting stronger conditions," he said.

"This likely reflects high expectations of a Christmas rush, with Western Australians likely to be confined to holidaying at home.

"In places including Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River, 40 per cent of businesses said they plan to increase production in the next three months and 41 per cent expect to take on more staff over the Christmas break.

"This will assist businesses in the South-West's tourism-reliant towns, where weak demand remains the biggest barrier to growth.

"However, 29 per cent are still suffering to a great or moderate extent due to WA's interstate borders."

Mr Morey said regional businesses were not helped by ongoing uncertainty and lack of clarity around WA's approach to borders.

"With a mixed recovery across our regions, WA needs to outline a sustainable approach to borders, led foremost by health advice," he said.

"This should include a clear public roadmap to re-join the nation - beginning with states or territories where COVID-19 is even less present than in WA - and a world-class contact tracing system in which businesses can have full confidence.

"This imperative has not been addressed since it was identified in the first edition of Regional Pulse."

This story Supply chain biggest impact of WA's hard border on South West businesses first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.