EXCLUSIVE: Survey reveals true impact on Coast businesses

HUNDREDS of Fraser Coast businesses have given a glimpse into the impact the coronavirus has had on their operations.

The Chronicle can exclusively reveal the results of the survey, which was completed by 432 businesses.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the survey found almost three quarters of local businesses have felt the economic impacts of COVID-19, but nearly half have responded by developing new products or ways to deliver services.

He said the results demonstrated the resilience and innovation of the business community.

"The economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have spread across the world, and we certainly haven't been immune on the Fraser Coast," Cr Seymour said.

"However, what this survey shows is that our region is responding to the challenges being thrown our way and that we can get through this together."

The key results of the survey include almost three quarters of businesses have reported some reduction in turnover/cash flow, while only about one in ten businesses with a turnover of more than $75,000 have been impacted by government restrictions.

Forty per cent of businesses were still open with their regular hours of operation.

About seven per cent of businesses reported no impact from COVID-19 and seven per cent reported an increased demand in services. Only one per cent planned to close their business permanently.

About 15 per cent of businesses introduced new products or services and more than a quarter had changed their method of delivery.

About 36 per cent of businesses indicated they were seeking help to understand the range of assistance available from the Australian and Queensland Governments.

Deputy Mayor Darren Everard said the council had announced a series of measures to provide some relief to businesses and to support community and sporting groups that have had to cancel events.

"Across the Fraser Coast, 664 regulated businesses are having their licences and permits extended for six months for free, while council has also waived the fees for 21 new applications for regulated business activities," he said.

"In addition, council has created a page on our website where businesses can find all of the federal and state assistance packages in one place.

"The web page also has links to the Fraser Coast Jobs board - where job seekers can register to showcase their skills and businesses can display jobs, while an Open for Business register is helping promote local businesses that are still operating."

Cr Seymour thanked the business community for participating in the survey.

He said the council also had formed an Economic Recovery Group that was meeting regularly with the three local Chambers of Commerce, the Fraser Coast Property Industry Association, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, and Federal and State Government agencies.

More information about Australian Government, Queensland Government and Council support for businesses is available at https://www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/coronavirus-support-for-businesses