Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Chamber Chat

Rising interest rates and the inflation monster continue to make headlines whilst renewable energy reliability has also started to be questioned, at a time when government is pouring billions into renewables.

Undoubtedly, we need to focus on cleaner power but are renewables the absolute answer? Renewable powerhouses like Germany have reluctantly started to bring coal back. Germany's goal had been to phase out all coal-generated electricity by 2038, but last year, swallowed the bitter pill of allowing coal-fired power back onto the grid partially due to the cost of gas but also as it needs more power.

The grid also needs a massive infrastructure upgrade and investment as we transition with new generation, transmission lines and energy storage are needed to keep the lights on in homes and businesses as ageing coal power plants shut down.

Why the focus on power? Recent CCIQ survey data details new sets of challenges in the post-Covid business environment. And cost and reliability of power are high on the business agenda.

Unsurprisingly, attracting and retaining employees, wage and insurance cost and interest rates are listed as the top growth constraints in Queensland in the last 12 months. Operating levels have returned or exceeded pre-Covid levels, especially in the Whitsunday region, however despite steady business performance, there is a degree of uncertainty with macroeconomic issues and high operating costs undermining business confidence.

For the third quarter in a row, businesses have reported growth with 37 per cent of businesses indicating their sales and revenue improved during the December quarter. However, in contrast, close to half of businesses surveyed expected the Queensland economy to perform weaker over the next 12 months and 53 per cent expected the national economy to perform weaker.

Is it just business focussing on the negative? Hopefully not. Locally, the ground work has been done and the future looks positive.– operate smart, efficiently and be ready to take advantage of every opportunity. After all, luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Contributed with thanks to Alan Milostic, President of Whitsunday Coast Chamber of Commerce.

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