Busselton and Margaret River rate high in COVID-19 financial impact analysis

Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta have rated high in a COVID-19 financial impact analysis. Image by Shutterstock.
Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Augusta have rated high in a COVID-19 financial impact analysis. Image by Shutterstock.

Areas within the South West including Busselton and Margaret River have rated high in a COVID-19 financial impact analysis which shows how the pandemic has impacted people living across Australia by postcode.

Conducted by consulting firm Taylor Fry, the data shows a high likelihood that residents experienced significant income loss brought on by the pandemic because of the region's industries of employment.

Accommodation, beverage manufacturing and agricultural industries such as dairy cattle, sheep farming and fruit and nut growing were all industries of employment that rated higher in this region than the state average.

Taylor Fry director Jonas Christensen said the region had a heavy reliance on tourism and accommodation, which were exactly what the government shut down during the pandemic.

"It is the industry which has been hit the hardest across the country by a long mile," he said.

"The things we do when we get together and where many people crowd in smaller places have taken the biggest hits.

"That is food and accommodation but also retail and sectors where it requires you to mingle with other people.

"Farming has also been affected which was a mix of local and global demand for Australian produce.

"About two-thirds of Australian produce goes overseas so when pandemics hit like this the industry is obviously affected."

Mr Christensen said it was difficult to say how long it would take the economy to recover but WA's economic outlook was looking more positive at the moment compared to other parts of the country.

"However, interstate travel was a factor that the region relied on and is not being seen at the moment," he said.

With interstate and international travel restrictions still in place, the July school holidays brought a surge of tourists to the region at a time of year when there would normally be less visitors.

Busselton Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Smart said town was buzzing with tourists during the school holidays, particularly Dunsborough.

"By default things will likely slow down after the school holidays when folks go back to school but there was probably an element of rediscovery there," he said.

"People who live in Perth could go south or north and we probably had our good fair share.

"That gives a lot of hope, your easiest customers to sell to is your existing customers."

Mr Smart said now was a time for business owners to use that experience to recapture their audience and keep their engagement.

"Engagement will come when events and cultural endeavors are made available again, we have the Good Day Sunshine Festival with John Butler coming up and the Ironman is coming to town again," he said.

"As it looks these events we have planned, with a certain air of caution and a bit smaller for our community and for the fact that our borders are still closed to interstate travel, is how we will drive our own economy ourselves."

This story Busselton and Margaret River rate high in COVID-19 financial impact analysis first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.