NSW drought: Cowra businesses struggling through dry times

DRY TIMES: Cowra Business Chamber president Jordan Core says the drought has had far reaching impacts in the community. Photo: FILE
DRY TIMES: Cowra Business Chamber president Jordan Core says the drought has had far reaching impacts in the community. Photo: FILE

BUSINESSES and farmers may be resilient, but the drought is still having a significant impact on the economy, Cowra Business Chamber president Jordan Core says.

Currently 100 per cent of Cowra is in drought or drought affected, data from the NSW Department of Primary Industries shows.

Mr Core said many farmers had little or no disposable income due to the drought and this meant they were only spending money on the bare essentials in town.

Many businesses in Cowra have now restructured and resized to reduce overheads, while others have adapted their offerings.

"Some businesses have gone from bricks and mortar to an online presence, while some have decreased stock on hand and improved marketing strategies," he said.

Mr Core said Cowra's business owners were resilient and would do everything possible to keep services local and people employed.

Some businesses have gone from bricks and mortar to an online presence, while some have decreased stock on hand and improved marketing strategies.

Cowra Business Chamber president Jordan Core

"Businesses in Cowra are smart, they understand what needs to be done to stay in the game, when the drought breaks, they will be here," he said.

He urged people to shop local to support Cowra's businesses during the drought.

"When you shop local, the money is staying local, it's keeping a local employed and it's feeding your family, neighbour or friend," he said.

Meanwhile Forbes Business Chamber president Margaret Duggan has encouraged businesses to get online to expand their customer base.

She said it was vital that businesses had an online presence, no matter whether that was a website or social media account to help promote themselves and remain competitive.

While the Parkes community has benefited from the Inland Rail, Pacific National and the Northparkes Mines expansion during the drought, the operations could spend more money locally.

DRY TIMES: Currently 100 per cent of the Central West is in drought or drought affected. Photo: AMY MCINTYRE

DRY TIMES: Currently 100 per cent of the Central West is in drought or drought affected. Photo: AMY MCINTYRE

That is the sentiment from Parkes Business Chamber president Geoff Rice who said these large corporations continue to award contracts to many businesses from outside the area.

"It's good to see some of that money flowing through into food and retail [in Parkes], but businesses that are completely rural based are really struggling," he said.

Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager Vicki Seccombe said the impact of the drought could not be overstated.

"It's continuing to hurt businesses and our local economies right across the Central West," she said.

"Businesses are reporting substantial decreases in cashflow, falling sales and revenue, while operating costs are on the rise."

The latest Business Conditions Survey revealed that businesses have shed staff during the past quarter.

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