Qld businesses hoping for budget boost

·2-min read

The Queensland government is being urged to plan a way out of snap lockdowns and transform the economy in next week's budget.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland's (CCIQ) most recent survey shows business confidence is four times higher than it was last year.

CCIQ general manager Amanda Rohan says sentiment is mainly being driven by the vaccine rollout as state government stimulus winds down.

She says confidence could be boosted if snap lockdowns and border closures were phased out.

"What we need is a clear health and economic roadmap to ensure a smooth way out of the pandemic," she said in a statement

"Businesses want know how we'll reopen to the rest of the country, and indeed the rest of the world, without having to deal with snap lockdowns.

"Uncertainty has continued to stunt business confidence, meaning business owners aren't sure whether to invest in equipment and new technologies, or employ new staff that will grow their business."

The chamber's survey said more than eight in 10 businesses are yet to recover from the pandemic.

When state government stimulus ends almost one-in-four businesses are planning to adjust staffing levels.

Queensland's unemployment rate is currently 6.1 per cent, the highest in the country outside Tasmania.

More than 20 per cent of businesses are planning to cut capital expenditure when stimulus ends.

Capex is money businesses spend to buy, maintain, or improve fixed assets, such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, or land.

Queensland was the only state or territory other than the Northern Territory to report a fall in capital expenditure in the March quarter of 2021.

Capex fell 0.4 per cent in the March quarter and slumped 13.0 per cent in the year to March 2021.

Ms Rohan said the state government should deliver a plan to help drive business confidence and diversify Queensland's economy.

"We're asking them deliver a plan for Queensland: to transform our economy, diversify our regional economies and boost resilience," she said.

"Confidence was low before the pandemic so it won't suffice to simply return to a 'business as usual' budget.

"We need progressive policies to incentivise innovation and sustainable practice, to fuel our economy for the long term."