Bus SA recently participated in one of a series of virtual summits held by Business SA.
The intent was to gather perspectives and better understand the impact of COVID-19; and to gather ideas to ensure the local economy is optimally poised for recovery.
Over 40 industry bodies and regional chambers were involved, from a wide range of industries, including the South Australian Road Transport Association, Uniting Communities, Real Estate Institute of South Australia, Dairy SA, and the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
The resulting report summarises key discussions in the four group meetings, including ideas raised by each group to support the economic recovery. It will be tabled at the Premier’s Industry Response and Recovery Council, and you can download and read it in full.
Included in the report is a short list of 12 key ideas raised by the participants that can be enacted with collaboration between industry, community sectors and governments.
Key cross industry/region recommendations
To further assist business now, and enable a post COVID-19 economic recovery
- Provide a Fringe Benefits Tax Exemption for at least 12 months to aid recovery in the hospitality sector.
- Instigate a ‘made in SA’ campaign to enable a manufacturing led recovery, including support for re-tooling and re-purposing of existing manufacturers, increased awareness of locally made across the community, and a permanent increase in the instant asset write-off threshold for purchasing Australian manufactured goods.
- Relax the eligibility criteria for the Federal apprentice and trainee wage subsidy and consider a payroll tax exemption to ensure employers are best placed to maintain or hire apprentices and trainees throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
- Providing additional funding support to fast-track maintenance projects across all Government funded institutions during COVID-19, including institutions such as TAFE. This should also extend to local Councils and Schools which can focus on projects like pool upgrades.
- Provide additional relief to assist both tenants and landlords through COVID-19, including a waiver (not deferral) on council rates, land tax and the emergency service levy (ESL) and where practicable, from 1 January 2020 to support compromised business cash flows.
- Establish a fund to complete main street and activity centre beautification projects to aid the retail and hospitality sector recovery, including as a compliment to supporting a tourism led recovery.
- Fast track the digitisation of Government services, and provide additional support for businesses most significantly impacted by COVID-19 to digitise their own business operations.
- Implement a boosted first home-buyers grant and a home-renovators grant to stimulate post COVID-19 demand in the construction sector.
- Fast-track feasibility studies to ensure optimum available shovel ready infrastructure projects post COVID-19, and consider projects which may now be more achievable with reduced traffic flows, including concreting of the South-Eastern Freeway.
- Develop a multi-faceted tourism campaign to assist the economy to rebound from COVID-19, including a focus on major leisure and business events from horse racing to conferences and waive associated Government charges, including for policing.
- Encourage Councils to provide more direct financial relief to assist businesses through COVID-19, and to support Regional Chambers of Commerce to carry out their work assisting business directly.
- Ensure all regions benefit from Government funded infrastructure projects to assist the entire State’s economic recovery.
- Provide some targeted support for South Australia’s international students reliant on local part-time employment but ineligible for JobKeeper, recognising this as the State’s largest single export sector.