The survey was conducted in the second week of January and had more than 2000 respondents, from a variety of industries, and across both metropolitan and regional NSW.
“Not surprisingly, business confidence and perceptions are not good right now, with business owners not expecting much improvement over the next quarter,” said Business NSW Chief Executive Daniel Hunter.
“More lockdowns and harsh restrictions are not the answer. Bouncing in and out of lockdowns dampens confidence even further and we need businesses to be open and trading. Short-term targeted support for those businesses and staff that are highly impacted is a must,” Mr Hunter said.
“What’s important is that confidence returns with speed – business needs the Government to ensure messaging is geared towards how consumers can spend freely in safety, and that immediate supply chain issues are being resolved.
“We need to promote individual accountability on how we act. If we are exposed to COVID or symptomatic, we test ourselves and stay home until in the clear. Otherwise, we should go out safely and support our local businesses where we can.
“Unlike previous surveys throughout 2021, where business owners felt the next quarter would get better, that isn’t the case this time as there are no government support packages in place. The scale of Omicron is in effect creating a shadow lockdown that is impacting businesses across the state.
“What’s also of major concern is that 40% of businesses reported they don’t have enough cashflow for the next three months.
“As a result, crucial decisions around staffing and capital expenditure have been put on the backburner, at a time when business owners normally make those important decisions.
“However, in positive signs, businesses are remaining open, and revenue impacts are far less than for midway through last year, showing that business owners have pivoted their operations and are in a stronger position than the same time last year.
“A number of business owners are concerned about the viability of their business as a lack of consumer confidence is having a devastating effect, alongside non-availability of vital staff.
“Confidence can return quickly, but for many businesses the next three months will determine their capacity to survive and thrive alongside Covid in the longer-term, Mr Hunter said.