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.