INCREASED operating costs have disadvantaged more than half the businesses that responded to an annual Border study.
The 2017 Albury-Wodonga Business Survey by the two cities’ councils showed rising expenses had a negative or very negative impact on 59 per cent of respondents.
Forty-two per cent had experienced cross-border issues, with other negative impacts coming from government policy (36 per cent) and the NBN (27 per cent).
As reported, the survey also revealed confidence in Albury-Wodonga recorded a seven-year high, with 70 per cent of respondents positive about the outlook for their business over the next 12 months.
Results of the yearly snapshot arrived as businesses honoured their best at the Murray-Riverina Business Awards in Albury on Friday.
Finalists from Albury, Wagga, Leeton, Deniliquin, Griffith and surrounding areas took part in the NSW Business Chamber presentation dinner at Albury Entertainment Centre.
Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce won the Local Chamber of Commerce award while City2City claimed the prize for Excellence in Social Enterprise.
Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie welcomed the confidence boost expressed by Albury-Wodonga businesses in the annual council survey.
“One only needs to walk through the CBDs of both cities to see the increased activity, development and rejuvenation works taking place,” she said.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack noted a rising digital economy, with more than half the respondents generating online sales.
“A key focus now is ensuring we have better digital connections, a challenge that needs to be met by service providers and governments to enable industry to continue to grow,” he said.
The survey received 510 responses across 18 sectors including retail, professional/technical/scientific, construction/manufacturing, health care/social assistance, hospitality and financial.
Sixty-two per cent of businesses planned to start capital works in the year ahead but only 28 per cent expected to increase employee numbers during that time.
According to the survey, there was a 5 per cent rise in the total number of people employed in the past 12 months.
Fifty-five per cent of businesses had operated for more than 10 years while home-based enterprises had grown by 8 per cent since 2016.