The year-long extension of GO LOCAL FIRST today announced by The Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, the Hon. Stuart Robert MP, is incredibly welcome news, according to GO LOCAL FIRST spokesperson Mark McKenzie.
“Australia’s 3.5 million small businesses are the heartbeat of their local communities and have been disproportionately affected by the COVID lockdowns. When these businesses thrive, their communities thrive and the national economy prospers,” said Mr McKenzie.
The extension of the campaign, first launched in July 2020, will run throughout 2021 and into next year, highlighting the crucial role small business plays in our nation’s economy, in keeping communities thriving and creating local jobs.
“This campaign is about urging Australians to GO LOCAL FIRST and buy from small businesses in their communities, to strengthen local economies and create local jobs. We are absolutely thrilled by Minister Robert’s announcement today which recognises the importance of small business in creating the jobs that power our economic recovery.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting global economic downturn hit the small businesses we all know and love, far harder than large businesses.
“The reality is small local businesses were less equipped to cope with lockdowns, and many of our small business are service-based, meaning they can’t shift to remote working. These small local businesses need Australians to get out there, spending and shopping locally” Mr McKenzie said.
The campaign will build on the success achieved throughout 2020 in encouraging Australians to choose local small businesses when purchasing products and services to help support local jobs in every community around the country.
Research commissioned by COSBOA and conducted by the C|T Group shows Australians are spending more at small local businesses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but volatile lockdowns and border closures have made for a sporadic recovery and therefore capacity to employ locals.
The research finds Australians see expediting our economic recovery and creating local jobs as the most important issues for the country, after managing the spread of the coronavirus.
COSBOA interim-Chief Executive Officer Alexi Boyd said “small businesses account for just over one-third of Australia’s GDP and a full economic recovery will not be possible without small local businesses creating jobs for their communities.
“We want to see Australians out there going local first by supporting their local grocers, butchers, and accountants – while following any COVID guidelines – which in turn will allow them to employ locally and continue to be the fabric of their community.
“While 2020 showed us that Australians are ready and willing to support their small local businesses, we still need local communities to stand by them and support them in job creation as we emerge from Australia’s first recession in three decades,” Ms Boyd said.
The GO LOCAL FIRST campaign has strong support from ambassadors committed to supporting Australia’s small businesses. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Australian Lottery and Newsagents’ Association have re-signed on as ambassadors.
Professor Trent Twomey, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said: “Australia’s community pharmacy sector is unique in that it’s composed almost entirely of small businesses. Most pharmacies are owned and operated by locals.
“Our community pharmacists have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, making sure their locals are safe and able to access the medical care they needed.
“But right now, they are still doing it tough, so we should be supporting them now more than ever or we risk them closing doors.
“I would encourage all Australians to back this campaign and GO LOCAL FIRST next time you’re looking to buy something or need some advice,” Professor Twomey said.
Ben Kearney, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association said, “Australians have been fantastic throughout the COVID pandemic in supporting local newsagents. When you back your local small business, you'll often find friendlier service and better products - and with your support more local small businesses will survive and rebound.
“Going Local First means making local businesses your first port of call when looking for a product and buying from them first. By supporting your local small businesses, you’re supporting your local community and helping to support local jobs.”
“When lockdown first hit last year, small businesses had to adapt quickly. For those getting online for the first time or adding an additional sales channel, eBay provided new sellers a range of support to help them set up easily and get selling. With 12-million unique monthly visitors and 40,000 Australian small businesses, eBay is Australia’s number one online shopping destination.
“We’re thrilled to be a GO LOCAL FIRST ambassador for 2021 and look forward to partnering in the success of even more Australian small businesses,” said Tim MacKinnon, Managing Director, eBay Australia.
The GO LOCAL FIRST campaign will be rolled out on outdoor, radio, TV, and digital advertising with a call to action to consumers to spend locally first to stimulate local job creation.
For more information on the campaign or to be part of it, go to www.golocalfirst.com.au