Rising costs lead to business closures across Far North
ALMOST 200 Far Northern businesses have closed down since the global financial crisis began and industry leaders fear increased costs will force more to fold.
A report released by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has revealed a 2 per cent drop in the number of employing businesses in the region in the past three years.
Transport and storage operations were the hardest hit, followed by administrative services.
The CCIQ analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data also shows a 6 per cent drop in the number of retailers.
The growth industries were arts and recreation services, personal and care services and health care and social assistance.
Construction, agriculture, fishing and retail were the most common businesses, despite their industries’ woes.
CCIQ cited the onset of the GFC, the surge in the Australian dollar, poor consumer confidence and “various political decisions” as major factors for the demise of businesses.
The chamber’s regional chair man, Brett Moller, said the figures were not surprising.
“(It) is consistent with the message we have been delivering to government at all levels that Cairns and Far North Queensland have been doing it tougher than other regions,” he said.
“This is particularly so when we see that our three largest industry sectors have consistently for each of the past three years seen a reduction in numbers and a strong negative trend reflective of the downturn in our economy.”
CCIQ said Queensland businesses would be faced with a raft of increased fees including the carbon tax, a 2.9 per cent rise in the minimum wage and a 3 to 5 per cent hike in electricity prices.
The chamber’s chief executive officer Stephen Tait said mounting operational costs threatened the viability of more businesses.
Mr Moller said the report also showed promising signs, with the past 12 months signalling an upward trend, “giving rise to the sentiment that we are at the bottom of the cycle”.
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