The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its Counts of Australian Businesses a few months ago and for the Central Coast they make interesting reading and I wonder if anyone in government ever gets around to looking at them. At CCBR we did!
The Counts of Australian Businesses is really a business census – how many there are, what they do, how many they employ and what their turnover is.
When these numbers are extracted to focus on the Central Coast they highlight an issue that should worry us all.
But firstly look at the number of registered businesses in our region over the last four years:
2017 22,480 businesses
2014 21,265 businesses
So in four years out of all the businesses that started up and went broke or closed down we ended up with a paltry 215 extra businesses operating across the region.
What this does not tell us is that the number of non-employing businesses in 2017 was 12,232 compared with 12,547 in 2014.
54% of all businesses on the Coast employ nobody.
The largest employing group are those in the 1–19 employees category and there are 9,878 or 44%. In 2014 there were 8,741 so we have had an increase of 1,137 businesses which sounds pretty good. These are small businesses.
The next category is 20-199 employees and should be the backbone of the regional economy. In 2017 there were 480 of these businesses compared with 741 four years ago. A loss of 261 businesses.
This category makes up just 2% of total businesses but to lose this number of medium to large sized businesses is a disaster.
And finally we have the really big employers those who employ over 200 people. In 2104 there were 18 and by 2017 that had fallen to 2014.
Industry sector wise the number of manufacturers have dropped from 944 to 897 while builders have increased from 4,674 to 5,312 and retailer have dropped from 1,529 to 1,357.
Meanwhile everyone in government is congratulating themselves because employment figures are up and that’s because more and more people are being soaked up with the introduction of the NDIS and expansion of medical and health services to take care of the Central Coast’s ageing population. And there is the increasing number of public servants everywhere else.
It has always been that the construction industry is significant contributor to any economy along with manufacturing and mining.
It has always been recognised that the construction industry is a major contributor to any economy and the Central Coast is seeing that now and with the State Government’s growth plan for the region and the revitalisation of Gosford City that should continue.
But that aside there needs to be a focus on encouraging businesses to relocate to our region.
It is here that the Central Coast Council needs to put politics aside and get on board. Throwing tantrums over the Warnervale Airport and a coal mine simply scares business people off. We are not the only region in Australia and some councils knock their socks off to bring business in.
Welfare does not build an economy is sucks on it.