Stage 4 lockdown would create ‘frigging mess’ for businesses
THE Lockyer Valley’s economy would be a “frigging mess” if stage three or four coronavirus restrictions were implemented in Queensland, a leading businessman has said.
As Queenslanders wait with bated breath to see whether a second wave of COVID-19 will hit the sunshine state as it did in Victoria and New South Wales, business confidence is low and planning for the future, even short term, has been made near-impossible, according to
Lockyer Chamber of Commerce, and Industry president Paul Emmerson.
He said businesses were cautious about hiring staff as they did not know what the future would look like.
“It’s just so difficult because we could put on people and train them, and then three weeks later not need them,” Mr Emmerson said.
Mr Emmerson’s called for calm and for people to continue social distancing..
The concern across Queensland has stemmed from three women who returned from a COVID-19 hotspot in Melbourne and allegedly lied on their travel documents about their whereabouts.
He said Lockyer Valley businesses were doing well considering the several month shutdown earlier this year.
“It’s not full steam ahead yet. When you shut down a business for a few months and try to restart it again, it takes a bit,” Mr Emmerson said.
“Some of the businesses are doing very well because people are coming here to buy stuff rather than going away.”
At present, the Lockyer Valley is strongly supported with 457 visa workers, or holidaying backpackers, who make up the horticultural workforce.
During the initial coronavirus outbreak in Australia, extensions were granted to working backpackers visas.
Mr Emmerson said agriculture was essential for the Lockyer Valley, and how long backpackers stayed was a concern.
“They contribute a lot to our economy,” he said.
“If they left, it would be a huge restructure.”