While businesses in big-city CBDs around Australia continue to lament the economic loss caused by the various lockdown responses of governments, businesses far smaller communities are also feeling the pinch.
The Murray River Council, located in country NSW but around two-and-a-half (?) hours from the Victorian capital of Melbourne, is one of those that has become desperate, saying it continues to receive worried calls from local business operators who have been hit hard once again due to the most recent border changes made in response to the Sydney Covid outbreak.
All of NSW is now declared a Red Zone when travelling from Victoria, restricting any movement into the NSW border region – and its businesses – outside the border bubble.
It has now decided to hold an extraordinary meeting of the council this Friday to discuss what it is calling the “border business crisis” and what action the authority can take on behalf of its business community.
Council ‘cops it in the neck’ due to border location
Local Mayor, Chris Bilkey, said the council was fed up because “we cop it in the neck wherever the lockdown occurs due to our border location.”
“We are fed up with Governments having total disregard for our unique circumstances; they just don’t seem to get that every time Melbourne or Sydney get a Covid-19 hiccup there are severe economic consequences for our border businesses.”
Bilkey said Murray River Council businesses have been adversely impacted for 52 weeks of the last 18 months due to lockdowns and border closures; which is greater than Melbourne and Sydney combined.
“Our businesses are at breaking point, and we will continue to bang the drum loudly on the disproportionate effect these lockdowns have on our communities,” he commented.
Desperate local businesses need financial support
According to Bilkey, councillors are receiving phone calls daily from desperate businesses in need of financial support to keep them afloat.
This is on the back of several councillors themselves being business owners and feeling the tightening squeeze of the economic impacts.
“We have been fortunate to never have had a positive case of Covid in our region, however we suffer the consequences of outbreaks in other areas, simply because we are located on the border,” he said.
“Our business community is looking to the NSW Government to initiate dialogue with the Victorian Government to reconsider the status of the red border zone for Victorian travellers.”