Queensland businesses continue to feel the pain of the coronavirus pandemic but are slightly more confident about their future than at the start of the outbreak, a survey has found.
Despite a slight improvement in trade, two-thirds of businesses have reported a decline in sales and profitability during the June quarter.
And more than half fear they will not be viable within a year when economic stimulus measures are set to end.
Conducted in the first week of July, the CCIQ Suncorp Pulse Survey of Business Conditions quizzed more than a thousand businesses across all sectors.
It found easing restrictions and anticipation of borders reopening had buoyed business sentiment.
However, 75 per cent believe the Queensland economy will deteriorate during the next year and have a similar pessimistic outlook for the Australian economy.
CCIQ economist Jack Baxter says the survey highlights the extreme stress businesses are under.
“The majority of businesses are experiencing a downturn in their turnover and profitability, which is impacting all areas of their operations, including hiring intentions, capital investment and general productivity,” Mr Baxter said in a statement on Monday.
The Queensland Economic Outlook Index increased by 11.7 points to 25 due to Commonwealth wage subsidies and the expected July border reopening.
But the results are still lower than during the global financial crisis and at the second-lowest level on record behind the devastating March quarter at the start of the pandemic.
One in five businesses had predicted condition would improve in the September quarter.
However, this is now threatened by Victoria’s second wave, which is expected to draw out Queensland’s recovery, particularly in the hardest-hit areas of tourism, retail and hospitality.
Expenses are also expected to increase in September as discounts on utilities, rent and insurance are expected to wear off, although electricity providers are under pressure to continue provide relief.
CCIQ general manager of advocacy and policy Amanda Rohan called on the Palaszczuk government and opposition to deliver their plans for rebuilding Queensland’s economy.
Ms Rohan said the Commonwealth’s wage subsidy scheme was keeping many businesses afloat, with nearly 20 per cent of businesses reported JobKeeper payments were sustaining their confidence in surviving the next 12 months.
But the payments were only a short-term measure, she said.
“What will last and what will strengthen our economy is business-friendly policies, activating infrastructure projects to give regions a flow of work and enabling businesses to connect, employ and grow.”
The coronavirus came at a time when business confidence and conditions in Queensland were already at a record low, Ms Rohan said.