7 December 2020

Strong spending in 2020 buoys Eurobodalla economy

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Tim Dalrymple and Teresa Lever standing in Sportfirst store.

Moruya Business Chamber president and Sportfirst owner Tim Dalrymple says several local retailers report increased trade this year. He is pictured with Eurobodalla Shire Council’s economic development manager, Teresa Lever. Photo: Supplied.

The Eurobodalla’s economy has pushed aside bushfires and COVID-19 to record increased spending in all but two months of 2020.

According to Eurobodalla Shire Council, monthly spending data shows the local economy took a hit in January and April, however all other months indicated increases on previous years ranging from six to 31 per cent.

Spendmapp data for the month of September shows visitor spending up by 32 per cent on 2019, while spending by locals increased by 22 per cent.

Meanwhile, job availability has increased significantly in recent months.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Employment Revolution project coordinator, Rhonnie South, said there were 28 job vacancies advertised in July, 39 in August, 47 in September and 65 in October.

“November’s weekly job searches consistently returned more than 70 jobs advertised,” she said. “The past two weeks were 86 and 79.

“We have also heard several accounts of employers struggling to attract staff.”

READ ALSO Businesses struggle to find staff as summer season approaches

Ms South said application numbers were down for jobs that would normally attract significant interest, such as apprenticeships and outdoor work.

“The industries regularly looking for staff are community services and health, hospitality, childcare, construction, and retail, however job application numbers and staff retention across all industries has been affected,” she said.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s economic development manager, Teresa Lever, said the number of job vacancies is encouraging.

“It has been an extraordinary year with business having to navigate enforced new operating environments in which there have been winners and losers,” she said.

“We’re hearing that for some, business has never been better. Some takeaway outlets, for example, have done a roaring trade.

“However, as the community knows, there were several sectors severely impacted during the year and the creation of advertised roles is reflective of many of these businesses coming back on board.”

Anecdotally, a lack of affordable housing seems to be having an impact on people wanting to move to the shire for work, while some employers believe JobSeeker payments are contributing to a dearth of applicants for the traditionally seasonal casual jobs.

READ ALSO Myriad factors contribute to coastal housing shortage

However, Ms Lever downplayed the housing issue.

“Demand for housing in regional and rural areas is not unique to Eurobodalla,” she said. “The difference is there is confidence in our region as indicated by the number of property sales occurring and favourable terms for investors with low interest rates.

“This regional confidence is also demonstrated by local builders undertaking developments – Train Street at Broulee is a good example. Eurobodalla has plenty of available land for housing and council is always happy to work with prospective developers.”

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