Goulburn business also suffers drought effects | Editorial

It's being referred to as the worst drought in living memory. Almost the entire state is now officially drought-declared. 

Across the Southern Tablelands for the autumn period, the Bureau of Meteorology reported that we received only 33 percent of our average autumn rainfall. 

Winter brought no relief with 65pc of average rainfall across the region in June; July far worse with a mere 27pc of average. 

Hume MP Angus Taylor is urging farmers to check eligibility for the federal government’s farm household allowance as financial aid. However, it’s not just those on the land who are feeling the pinch. 

Across the state, businesses in rural and regional centres are reporting a downturn in business as belts are tightened. 

While aid is available for farmers, there is no emergency relief for businesses that are suffering as a result of the drying up of income.

While the local consumer movement has gained a lot of traction in recent years as a means of strengthening local economies and minimising environmental impact, there has never been a more important time to keep your consumer dollar in the local community.

In Australia, for every $100 spent in a national chain business, about $13 stays in the local community. 

By comparison, for every $100 spent in a local business, around $45 remains in the local community. 

That $45 helps to pay local salaries; it goes towards engaging local professional services such as bookkeeping, cleaning or legal services; and is spent in other businesses. 

For communities where off-farm incomes may well be keeping families going with no income from farming, ensuring the viability of businesses that employ local people is crucial.

While Goulburn is in the fortunate position of having a healthy local tourism industry which keeps many of our local businesses ticking over, this does not guarantee immunity from a rural community facing straitened circumstances. 

If goods and services are locally provided, it makes economic and social sense to prioritise those over travelling to Queanbeyan, Yass or Canberra for the same goods and services.

We hear a lot from people who are keen to have outside businesses and companies invest in our region, but the best investment comes from the people who live here.

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