Businesses in the Northern Rivers and southern Queensland are being asked to do a short survey on how the border closure is affecting their businesses.
The idea behind the survey is to bring together a picture of the impact of Queensland’s hard border restrictions on day-to-day business operations from loss of revenue to staffing.
Tweed Shire Council’s (TSC) Senior Economic Development Officer Kym Kranen said information collected will be used to create a clearer picture on the impact of the ongoing situation in the border area. This information will be used to support a united call from politicians across the political spectrum for the establishment of a Tweed Cross Border Community Zone.
Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry told The Echo they hope this will be a pilot project that will lead to the establishment of a Northern Rivers border zone ensuring businesses and residents can move as needed between southern Queensland and northern NSW as was previously the case with the border bubble.
‘We are looking to gather information on the economic impact on businesses throughout the Northern Rivers and southern Queensland which means, for example, that some business owners and their staff unable to physically access their premises,’ said Mayor Cherry.
Ms Kranen said the group was advocating for the creation of a new border zone but required facts and figures to support their case.
‘This online survey provides a quick and easy way businesses can report how many staff are affected by the restrictions, particularly how many staff are unable to get to work, and the main impacts on normal operations of the business,’ Ms Kranen said.
‘By collecting this information from as many businesses as possible, we hope to present a strong case economically for the establishment of a border bubble which allow many business to remain viable.
‘Hopefully, this information can be presented to the Premiers of NSW and Queensland and influence them into introducing a pilot Tweed Cross Border Community Zone.’
Sam Saulwick, who owns The Bread Social bakery in Bay Street, Tweed Heads, just one block south of the Queensland border, said almost 40 per cent of his staff were unable to attend work due to the current border closure.
‘Anything that can be done to ease the burden for businesses and staff is worth a go,’ Mr Saulwick said.
‘Of our 48 staff located at our Tweed Heads store, 22 are now unable to attend work as they live in Queensland while some have made the decision to relocate to NSW temporarily to continue their employment.
‘Our revenue is down approximately 40% this week with our wholesale side of the business unable to cross the border to service half of our customers.
‘We are in support of a change to establish a border bubble immediately.’
To fill out the Border Business Impact Form go to tweed.nsw.gov.au/covid-19-business-assistance.