13 November 2008

Business confidence tanks - but don't worry, be happy!

| johnboy
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The Chief Minister is predicting tough times ahead.

He is, however, upbeat and thinks they won’t be as bad here as in other parts:

    Mr Stanhope said there were predictions that any slowdown in the ACT may not be as protracted or as severe as elsewhere.

    “Independent forecasts confirm that the slowdown of the ACT economy may not be long-lasting, and that the ACT economy is set for a speedy recovery, triggered in part by a rise in commercial building approvals,” Mr Stanhope said.

    “And with the ACT now on a solid financial footing, and with accumulated budget surpluses being put to work through a billion-dollar infrastructure program, we are in a good position to handle what lies ahead.

    “Our economy is more diversified than ever before, we still boast the lowest unemployment rate in Australia, and we are defying the national downward trend in job advertisements – all factors that will help us emerge quickly from the downturn,” Mr Stanhope said.

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Canberra is a “buffered” economy, thanks to the high proportion of public servants. We never eat it as badly as the other capitals in a downturn, but by the same token never experience the same giddy highs.

Canberra is a very media-sensitive town. I’ve heard on the grapevine that people slammed their wallets shut the minute that news of the financial crisis first hit. As it has been revealed that most of the pain seems destined for the financial sector and we’re not all going to end up on the streets, they’ve slowly creaked back open. Things aren’t quite as they should be, though takings are well down on last year.

Luxury goods retailers are the ones who are suffering right now. A (luxury clothing) business owner from Civic of my aquaintence grumbled “don’t ask me how business is”.

As the Kev-bot has shown no inclination to do much but talk about PS job cuts, I think things will get a bit creaking in Canberra and a few businesses will hit the wall; but we should come out of this okay.

I just hope I’m right.

Sonic’s concern for business in the ACT is to be commended, but I have to take this concern with a large grain of salt.

His collegues in the ACT Labor party office still owe my business for product supplied to Mike Hettinger in his campaign for election. I have been told that I should take this up with Hettinger, but invoices sent to other candidates have been paid from the Labor office.

Sonic, if you want to assist business in this town, get your bloody party to PAY THEIR BILLS!

People may put off big purchases like furniture, house extensions, or new cars on the basis of general lack of economic confidence, despite this public service town having secure employment for the majority of workers. Or there may be fewer people eating out than usual, if there are rises in other living costs due to the US$ vs AUD$. But if you own a supermarket or bottle shop, or you’re an accountant, your business is safe.

Businesses that sell things that ultimately help save money or the environment (eg rainwater tanks, LPG conversions, more expensive items that can be re-used or sold after use instead of thrown out) should be OK for a while too.

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