Kellon Beard, regional manager Mid North Coast, NSW Business Chamber.
Kellon Beard, regional manager Mid North Coast, NSW Business Chamber.

Coffs will bounce back says business leader

"We're going to have a recession that's a statistical fact but Coffs Harbour is in a great place to bounce back."

That's the message from Business NSW Regional Manager, Mid North Coast, Kellon Beard.

His optimism comes in the wake of some sobering statistics which show that 5,700 jobs were lost in the Coffs Harbour - Grafton area in April.

"But Coffs has a great airport and a good business community and it's a beautiful area to live so there is no reason why we won't bounce back from this as long as businesses adapt and change."

From GPs providing telehealth services to fitness instructors running classes online, he says many of the changes are here to stay.

RELATED: Leaping back after lockdown

Across NSW the unemployment rate crept up to 6 per cent in April from 4.8 per cent in March with 221,425 jobs lost.

This brings the total to 194,905 jobs lost over the year with NSW accounting for 49 per cent of jobs lost nationally.

But Mr Beard remains optimistic, particularly for the Coffs Harbour region.

"Coffs has got all the bases covered for economic recovery. It's more attractive now to a lot of businesses now that are outside the area and thinking about relocating out of Sydney plus we had relatively few cases of Covid in the region."

Mr Beard covers an area from Forster up to Woolgoolga and has some specific plans to boost the economy post-COVID.

"It's early stages now but we're looking at what some local Councils are procuring from outside the area - what are some of their big purchases? - and seeing if we can attract businesses to the area to supply those services.

"One example is at Port Macquarie where they buy industrial water filters from outside the region so we're looking at options of attracting businesses to the area to supply those."

Federal stimulus options

With Australia headed into its first recession in 30 years under Covid-19 the Morrison-McCormack government is again opening up the treasury coffers to stimulate the economy and support an estimated 66,00 future jobs.

Small 'shovel-ready' infrastructure projects will be fast-tracked with an additional $1.5 billion being spent across the country, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announce $50.6 million 2020-21 State Black Spot Program.
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announce $50.6 million 2020-21 State Black Spot Program. Rachel Vercoe

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said accelerated infrastructure development would be a key part of the Government's JobMaker plan.

$1.5 billion of new funding will be provided straight away across the country for small shovel-ready infrastructure projects and improvements to our roads.

"Road safety programs like the Black Spot Program and Roads to Recovery Program have helped to make regional roads safer for motorists, so as chair of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety, I look forward to seeing what improvements will be provided through this additional infrastructure spending," Mr Conaghan said. 

Full story: Federal Government fast-tracks JobMaker funds 



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