Climate concerns a factor for business

GROWING concerns about climate change and the strategies required to reduce emissions appear not to have dented confidence among Western Australian business, according to a survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA. The CCI-Commonwealth Bank Survey of Business Expectations for the March quarter found a 20 per cent increase in the number of firms reporting conditions to be strong, rather than favourable, compared with results from the previous quarter. More than 80 per cent of firms surveyed also believed the state’s economy would hold its ground or strengthen during the next year, supported by stronger operating conditions. However, skills shortages remain a significant issue for most businesses, with a record 74 per cent of firms describing labour as scarce. Labour constraints are putting pressure on wages, with about half of businesses reporting higher wage costs for the quarter, although there was a slight easing in input and non-wage labour costs. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of respondents were unclear as to the most appropriate methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The survey found that 85 per cent of businesses actively investigating climate change issues were medium or large in size, many in the production sector.

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