President of the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce, Mr Ron Hay said, upward changes in unemployment levels, are always a concern and at a local level, we are witnessing an even greater concern, with recent announcements.
In any business, there are a number of costs which input into the day to day operation and as we know, a business has to be financially viable or at some point it will no longer exist, which is unfortunately a fact of the business world.
Labour costs said Mr Hay, are generally looked at as a major cost input and are also a quick and immediate reduction in the cost base of a business, when people are released from their employment.
With respect to our Whyalla situation, a number of concerns are raised in relation to what we are dealing with as a community. For example, both personal and community uncertainty for the future, the flow on effects when a major employer makes significant changes to its business, influences of world economic trends and commodity prices, maintaining a level of positivity, protecting our own economy during very trying times and hoping we do not lose skills from Whyalla, due to people leaving said Mr Hay.
To protect our future, we need to start looking more inwardly and focus on the things we can control or influence and put aside those we cannot. By this I mean, we can make certain that we support our local retail and service outlets for example, thus maintaining our economic base, so we do not see further job losses within retail, hospitality and services along with possible business closures.
Mr Hay said the Chamber is constantly in discussion with other key organizations, to see what we can change or implement, that will give a result for Whyalla in the short term, whilst at the same time, keep moving ahead with plans for the longer term.
In addition, our key organizations need to continually send a strong message to both our State and Federal Governments of the day, that investment in infrastructure in the regional areas is paramount and all major projects where steel is used, should be using locally produced products, rather than imported steel, said Mr Hay.
You do not need to be Einstein, to understand that if businesses are buoyant, have good levels of employment and they are selling their goods and services, then money is going into the ‘Government bank account’, through taxes and GST on sales, which provides for further projects and services back into our communities.
Mr Hay said, as a community, we need more than ever to work together to see us through these trying times, maintain our economy and move us into the future and I can say, that the Whyalla Chamber as the advocate for the business community, is definitely challenging some situations that are currently concerning our organization and that of our membership.
Our resilience and hence the success of this community, will be in how we work together, the effort we put in, the support we give our businesses and above all else, remaining positive.