COVID could claim one third of Gold Coast businesses
MORE than one in three Gold Coast businesses fear they will fail in the next nine months due to the impact of COVID-19, a new survey reveals.
The latest Regional Development Australia Gold Coast business impact and information survey came five months after the previous findings painted a dire picture for the Gold Coast economy with 92 per cent of businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The October survey showed 34.1 per cent of the 200 respondents said they were "not confident" of the ongoing viability of their businesses this financial year.
More alarming was the 64.8 per cent of businesses that said they could not operate if JobKeeper was not available.
The Federal Government JobKeeper wage subsidy was in July extended until March 28 2021, which means businesses have less than six months until the scheme runs out.
Other findings of the RDA survey included:
● 27.3 per cent of respondents had no cash flow budget for FY21
● 70.5 per cent were impacted by cash flow issues
● 35.6 per cent had deferred payments on loans
● 45.5 per cent had accessed loans or other assistance from their bank
● 22.2 per cent required financial assistance with paying for council permits
● 54.5 per cent had not received licence and permit renewals from state and federal authorities to operate their businesses
Businesses said they were concerned about their survival due to number of factors including having no forward bookings, the absence of the Chinese market due to international travel restrictions, the uncertainty over the border issue and commercial rents not aligning with the reality of business during COVID-19.
RDA Gold Coast Director Estella Rodighiero said nearly half of respondents were in the tourism or accommodation sectors.
"Obviously, tourism is a major economic driver for the Gold Coast, so the closure of the Queensland border and cessation of international flights has had an impact which is still very much ongoing," she said.
Ms Rodighiero said cashflow remained a key concern for the businesses surveyed.
"Cashflow is king in business - cashflow issues can cripple even a profitable operation, so helping businesses obtain whatever financial relief they can possibly get to smooth out expenses is a current focus."
She said the RDA was working closely with a range of organisations, including State Development, Tourism and Innovation, the City of Gold Coast, ATO, to connect businesses with the support they needed.
"If anyone or any company noted in the survey that they required assistance in any area - staffing, redundancies, rent relief or lease negotiations, rate relief, cashflow, loans, supply chain issues, mental health, whatever - we immediately secured a department or officer who could give them the assistance they required," she said.
A breakdown of respondents based on their industry sector showed 48.8 per cent were from the tourism and accommodation sectors, 9.1 per cent from manufacturing, 2.3 per cent from education and training and 5.7 per cent from retail.
Originally published as COVID could claim one third of Gold Coast businesses