After having faced a long period of staffing and supply chain difficulties, small businesses are looking forward to the reopening of Australia’s borders to international travellers and workers on 21 February as a much-needed boost.
According to the research released by Westpac, over a third of small-business owners (34 per cent) believe that the reopening of international borders will help address the product shortages and delays they have had to endure throughout the pandemic.
The research also reveals that 32 per cent of small businesses believe that open borders will help them fill staff vacancies, while 31 per cent hope that the move will help provide an improved service to existing customers. The resolution of staffing is particularly important, with over 70 per cent of small businesses having to operate with reduced staff during the Omicron outbreak, and 56 per cent citing the lack of availability of staff as having adversely affected their business growth.
In addition, business owners and operators also believe opening the borders will help boost local spending, with 37 per cent expressing the belief that new customers will be a welcome result of the reopening the borders, bringing foreign travellers and workers back into the country.
Westpac Managing Director Business Lending, Shane Howell, said that business has been bearing the brunt of a very challenging time and the Federal Government’s decision to reopen international borders to fully vaccinated travellers is a critical and welcome next step.
“Many businesses are finding hope in this decision to re-open our borders and get back to business,” Howell said. “Supply chain and staffing issues have been significant in some sectors and regions, and it’s promising to see some optimism return to businesses around these key themes.”