Growing Unemployment Leads to Business Groups’ Call for a COVID Economic Recovery Plan


Friday, 14 August 2020

Growing Unemployment Leads to Business Groups’ Call for a COVID Economic Recovery Plan

ABS Labour Force data released today reveals the extent of the ACT’s growing unemployment crisis, with 11,228 Canberrans now unemployed.

ABS Labour force data shows that July’s unemployment rate for July 2020 is 4.6% compared with 3.5% in July 2019.

In response, four leading Canberra business groups, who collectively represent the employers of 235,000 Canberrans, have today written to the Chief Minister, calling on him to outline an economic recovery plan in his upcoming ACT economic statement later this month.

Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt said, “Today’s ABS data shows that the ACT’s unemployment rate in July 2020 is 4.6%, which is 1.1% higher than twelve months ago.”

“With around two thirds of Canberrans working in the private sector, the greatest economic impact of the COVID recession is on the ACT’s 30,000 small and family businesses,” he said.

Mr Catt said, “Adding to the stress on local business owners is uncertainty about the ACT Government’s economic recovery plan.”

Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said, “Since 14 March around 1,000 Canberran’s have lost their jobs in the construction sector, which is Canberra’s second largest private sector employer.”

“A long-term capital works plan which boosts local construction jobs and provides infrastructure to support our long-term growth is urgently needed,” he said.
Property Council ACT Executive Director Adina Cirson said, “The property and construction sector contributes around 60% of Territory taxes and charges. Without a clear economic plan, which prioritises planning reform, tax relief and a plan for population growth, jobs will be lost and the Territory’s revenue source will continue to decline, leading to a long term financial crisis for the next Territory Government.”

Australian Hotels Association ACT Executive Director Anthony Brierley said, “Our members are suffering more than most at the moment with ACT restrictions hitting our industry hard.”

“The Government needs to develop a strategic plan for economic recovery so that the hospitality industry can bring back stood-down workers, and come to acceptable agreements with banks, finance providers and landlords,” he said.

Mr Catt said, “At the core of our request is the need for a business-friendly government which supports a private sector led economic recovery for the ACT.”
“We consistently hear from local businesses about the difficulty of running a small business in Canberra, which has been made more difficult for many COVID recession,” he said.

“Business-friendly policies which support job creation, infrastructure spending, tax reform, targeted population growth, planning reform, direct subsidies and industrial relations reform need to be urgently prioritised.”