President of the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce, Mr Ron Hay said, upward changes in unemployment levels, are always a concern at both state and local level.
South Australia’s unemployment figure is currently around 7.1%, according to the latest information, which also represents the highest level in the country.
The Whyalla Chamber Executive believes the current unemployment levels have been driven by a number of factors including, closure of manufacturing businesses (with downstream effects), closure of small and medium sized business due to reductions in turnover for goods and services and ‘high costs of doing business’, for example.
Mr Hay said, that although we have witnessed most of these activities within the metropolitan areas, we are also seeing closures of small businesses within our community as well, which ultimately impacts on unemployment and our economy.
However, if we focus on a State level, the concerns of the Whyalla Chamber fall into the following categories, Firstly, the need for Business groups and governments, to work together and develop a plan to re-structure manufacturing to produce value adding outcomes to secure our future. Secondly, changing the face of business through mechanisation, training and the need to consider how we engage with other countries in terms of partnerships to develop opportunities to bring financial investment to sustain what we do, rather than selling of the opportunity, said Mr Hay.
This state and indeed the country, needs to be a major producer, rather than an importer, which will create employment and wealth.
In another three years’ time, we are not going to have a car manufacturing industry in South Australia, which will produce another spike in the unemployment level, along with the economic issues that are generated for the families, the communities and the State, through direct and flow on effects said Mr Hay.
The reality is that we then see the flow on effect to other areas, such as retail and hospitality for example, where a greater number of people have less or no disposable income and a reduced spend into their respective communities, which can then lead to more closure of small business for example and higher unemployment. It becomes a vicious circle of events said Mr Hay.
Organizations like the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce and Business SA, have over the years, aired their concerns with the Governments of the day and individual politicians with (in our opinion), no real responses as to how we secure a sustainable future for all concerned.
Mr Hay said, we do not like the current situation and as we have previously stated, we (the Chamber) are encouraging our politicians and representatives of the State Government to meet with us and provide details of their plans, that will secure economic growth and sustainability, along with employment, wealth and real lasting benefits to both the state and our community.