Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has launched a renewed Buy Local push to counter the coronavirus crisis threatening to blow a billion-dollar hole in the city’s economy.
Cr Schrinner has also called on the State Government to include Brisbane in a tourism advertising campaign aimed at stimulating tourism in the wake of Chinese travel bans.
“Brisbane appears to be the State’s forgotten city as the fallout of the coronavirus health emergency mounts,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Our city faces at least a billion-dollar loss across Brisbane businesses, the education sector, tourism and export operators and airport arrivals have fallen sharply. We need to take a prominent place in a State Government advertising campaign announced last week.
“The State seems focused on the Gold Coast, Cairns and north Queensland, but we as a city are suffering. I am being told by business groups some retailers and restaurants have seen two-thirds of its business turnover gone in a fortnight.
“I am launching the Brisbane Buy Local Blitz to encourage every single one of us to think hard about where we spend our money.
“The exclusion of China, our biggest tourist market, as well as an 80 percent cut to international student numbers could have a major domino effect in our economy unless we all step-up to support local business.
“Coronavirus is a big challenge, but it’s a temporary one. Let’s push-back hard and all come together to support local business and local jobs other over the coming weeks.”
“The flow-on-effect trickles down to our local shops, cafes, restaurants, universities, student accommodation and travel industry businesses. Pubs, cafes, restaurants, taxis, high-end shopping centres, factory outlets; everyone is going to feel this temporary hit. If they suffer, jobs could be lost.
“We all collectively have the power to minimise the devastating impact on our local economy by getting out and buying local, particularly at our independent outlets.
“Right now, skip home delivery and go to your local fish and chip shop. Now is not the time to buy your clothes online, instead head to your local shops.
“We are a city of 1.1 million residents, if we all do our bit and buy local, this will go a long way to soften the blow of the coronavirus crisis on our economy.
“If you like your local Thai restaurant or corner store, make sure you go to it, because it might not be there if you don’t support it. Forget the drive-through, take your family out, sit down for a meal at a local restaurant or cafe,” Cr Schrinner said.
As of late last week, 210 flights out of China and the surrounding region were cancelled international and international student numbers have contracted by up to 80 percent. On average, each student generates $36,000 of value to the Brisbane economy.
China is Brisbane’s largest international market with 264,000 visitors in the 12 months to September, growing at 15% year-on-year.
National Retailers Association CEO Dominique Lamb has thrown her support behind the Brisbane Buy Local blitz.
“Retailers across the sector have already had to navigate a challenging period of low consumer spending and slow sales. Many brands including high-end retail, restaurants and hospitality and fast food rely on Chinese New Year celebrations. The NRA welcomes Brisbane City Council’s campaign to urge shoppers to buy from local retailers and we urge shoppers to support the initiative.”
Brisbane City Council supports local businesses through a suite of initiatives including $2 million in cuts to small business fees and charges, targeted training and free monthly events, Small Business Forums and workshops.
More than $8 million is being invested this financial year to deliver Village Precinct Projects across Brisbane.
In mid-2019, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner introduced a new Local Buy procurement policy which aims to lift the number of Council contracts going to local businesses to 80 percent.