New modelling from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) shows constraints arising from the Omicron wave are costing the state’s economy an estimated $180 million a day in lost economic activity.
CCIQ members say their ability to maintain normal operational hours or service delivery, staff availability and supply chain disruptions have been the most significant constraints on their recovery, costing the economy approximately $1.2 billion per week.
CCIQ data shows one in five Queensland businesses have experienced a critical constraint on their ability to maintain normal operational hours or service delivery in the five weeks since state borders reopened, while 85 per cent of businesses surveyed said they had experienced some impact on their ability to trade as usual.
Businesses are reporting major or critical supply chain disruptions, especially in the construction, electricity, gas, water and waste services, wholesale trade, healthcare and social assistance, and retail trade industries.
CCIQ policy and advocacy general manager Amanda Rohan said Queensland businesses needed commitment to and certainty on three areas to enable them to confidently recover.
"CCIQ is calling for Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to be freely and widely available for businesses, the list of essential industries expanded and financial support for businesses forced to close directly due to public health directions,” Rohan said.
She said businesses had their first real opportunity to reopen after close to two years of uncertainty, but they needed support and clarity to stay open.
“Businesses need access to freely and widely available RATs to help them and their staff get back to work quicker, plan for workforce shortages, and ongoing recovery,” Rohan said.
“It’s equally important the list of essential industries continues to be consistently reviewed to enable businesses to self-assess their risk profile and to ensure employees are able to get back to work as soon as safe and practicable.
"We know staff shortages are impacting small businesses and there is a call for those most impacted businesses to be financially supported."
The CCIQ leader has called for a target support package with joint federal and state support.
"Today Brisbane City Council committed to a package to support local businesses which is welcome news to those most impacted in Brisbane," she said.
"There is still a need for a directly-targeted joint state and federal package to support businesses across the state. We have heard from impacted businesses they are seeking a package that can include payroll tax relief and fee waivers, deferrals and refunds."
Updated at 4:22pm AEST on 19 January 2022.
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