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Business survey finds that skills shortages and poor connectivity to Sydney holding back the Illawarra region

Release Date: 28/05/2015
Illawarra businesses’ top policy priority is skills & training, followed by reducing local unemployment, according to the Illawarra Business Chamber’s 2015 Policy Survey of 132 Illawarra businesses.
“The education and training system is not meeting Illawarra businesses’ needs. When recruiting for a vacant position businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit local residents with the right skills and experience,” said Illawarra Business Chamber Chief Executive, Debra Murphy.
“Businesses continue to tell us that improved connectivity between the Illawarra and Sydney would turbocharge the Illawarra economy.
“Four out of every five Illawarra businesses reported that faster rail and road links to Sydney are essential for growth and productivity of the region.

“There is still more work for the Government to do in reducing red tape with almost two thirds of Illawarra businesses saying that there should be less regulation on business.
“Payroll tax is costing much–needed Illawarra jobs with almost a third of local businesses reporting that this tax on jobs prevents them from employing more people.
 “Almost two thirds of Illawarra businesses believe that reform is needed to improve local government. We will be watching closely to see if the Joint Organisation pilot programme delivers on the improvements in council performance that local businesses are seeking.
“DA processing is the worst performing aspect of the Council performance according to businesses.
“The majority of Illawarra businesses are supportive of defence investment in the Illawarra.  They are most supportive of the Navy being based at Port of Port Kembla, with just under half agreeing that relocation would benefit their business.
“There is a growing appetite for R&D and innovation in the Illawarra with almost half of Illawarra businesses wanting the opportunity to pursue innovation in their business.
“Access to finance is becoming less of a concern for local businesses; however, it is still an expansion barrier for more than a quarter of members,” Ms Murphy said.
Media Contact:         Julia Frith 0417 135 858
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