Over 65 South Coast business representatives and stakeholders attended Business Victor Harbors’ first Quarterly Industry Snapshot event at the Hotel Victor on Thursday, 25th March 2021.
The first event of the series – in partnership with ANZ Banking Corporation – provided attendees with vital current snapshots of industry sectors and updated them on recent events, issues and changes impacting the South Coast region and their businesses.
The first of the event’s keynote speakers was Clint Gates, ANZ Associate Director Interest Rate Risk Management Global Markets who gave a domestic and global market update for the first quarter. Important points made in Clint’s presentation included:
- The RBA Governor has pushed back against market pricing of rate hikes as early as 2022;
- The unemployment rate fell to 6.4% in February and ANZ Job Ads suggests it could be below 6% in the second half of 2021. ANZ Research has just updated its forecasts and sees unemployment at 5.8% by the end of 2021 and 5% at the end of 2022;
- What’s more, GDP has probably got back to its pre-pandemic level in the current quarter. This is well ahead of previous expectations, but wage growth will only respond to the fall in unemployment with a lag and it will be this that keeps the RBA’s cash rate at 0.1%.
The Hon. David Basham MP, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development – Member for Finniss provided a summary on State Government spending in the City of Victor Harbor (over $69M) and the Electorate of Finniss ($108M) since March 2018 and a snapshot of the major projects being undertaken in the region, including;
- Stage 4 Mainstreet Precinct;
- New Causeway project;
- Victor Harbor R-7 School project;
- New High School in Goolwa;
- Railway Plaza upgrade;
- Great State Experiences project and
- COVID-19 Business Support Grants
The final speaker of the evening was Chief Executive Officer of Business SA Martin Haese who was enthusiastic and positive about the current business climate. Martin made the following points in his presentation:
- the South Australian business confidence index jumped 13 points in the December quarter to 108.3 points – a two year high and 20% above its 10-year average despite a material revenue hit to many service and hospitality sector businesses resulting from the Parafield Cluster restrictions;
- a third of businesses reported that 2020 was either their best year ever, or the best in five years. Further, around a third of businesses believe their business is operating better since the onset of COVID due to improved systems, greater efficiency and the elimination of waste;
- the most telling result from the SOBE is continued disparity within the economy with 45.7 per cent of businesses reporting revenue either on par or higher than pre-COVID, but 15.1 per cent being down more than 50 per cent on pre-COVID (the latter equating to about 7,000 businesses) and;
- Only 30.1 per cent of SA businesses remain on JobKeeper 2.1, but that figure is up to 75 per cent across accommodation & food services, and 71 per cent for tourism. Overall, 68.3 per cent all businesses want JobKeeper to continue beyond March for heavily impacted sectors.