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Businesses under pressure from high operating costs

Release Date: 19/04/2018
Businesses in the Hunter have indicated that energy and operating costs are continuing to have an impact on performance and sentiment, according to results of the latest New South Wales Business Chamber (NSWBC) Business Conditions Survey.
The survey measures respondents’ perceptions of the economy’s current performance and while cost pressures remain, businesses in the Hunter continue to be more positive compared to other NSW regions with the Hunter recording more robust results across most economic indicators.
“The 2018 first quarter results demonstrate 33.1% of businesses are indicating an increase in capital spending and 24.1% citing an increase in staffing numbers against state averages of 27.4% and 20.2% respectively.
“Although business operators remain upbeat about their prospects and the economic outlook for the year ahead, profitability and growth are being constrained by the continued decline in energy affordability, business operating costs and access to skilled labour.
“Energy has been a strongly emerging issue over the last 12 months in particular and is impacting operational competitiveness for businesses not only in our region but across the entire state.
“This is an issue high on our priorities and the Chamber is committed to working with all stakeholders to achieve the best outcome possible.
“Reducing the burden of payroll tax on small business is also key to driving investment in capital and increasing jobs growth but we also need to do more to provide our young people with better and more targeted training to improve employment opportunities.
“The NSWBC has proposed a minimum payroll tax threshold of $1 million per annum and is championing new incentives for employers to hire young job seekers, along with measures to boost the number of trainees and apprentices in NSW.
“The Hunter is a resilient and diverse economy and business has a positive economic outlook but reducing tax and investing in skills are important to ensure future growth and employment can be realised,” Bob said.

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