Clearer government communication around border closures is key to restoring and maintaining business confidence, Anthony McFarlane says.
The Business NSW Murray Riverina regional manager said the latest survey of businesses, which was conducted before the Victorian government closed the border to NSW, showed an increase in confidence.
But the subsequent closure will have hurt border businesses.
The Business NSW survey showed 23 per cent of businesses across the state reported they were a high risk of failure without government supports such a JobKeeper and tax relief.
Mr McFarlane said a similar percentage of border operations - roughly 700 businesses - would likely be feeling the same.
On the border, about 40 per cent of businesses applied for JobKeeper in September, with more than 3000 applications lodged in Albury and Wodonga government areas.
Mr McFarlane said the the border closure split not only communities but also the economy, with tourism businesses struggling while other industries thrive.
"There is a bit of a two speed economy," he said.
"Some parts there's really good performance, but obviously the visitor economy is struggling."
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Mr McFarlane said the December survey showed confidence had recovered relatively quickly from the earlier restrictions.
"It was very positive to see Murray-Riverina business confidence index bounce back really strongly from what we went through in the middle of the year," he said.
Mr McFarlane said construction and agriculture were booming in the region, contrasting with the pain of the tourism sector.
He said if the restrictions continue to ease and the border reopens, the disparity should be short-lived.
Mr McFarlane called on governments need to be clear and collaborative when it comes to border closures.
"The fundamental impact [of the closures] is one of confidence," he said.
"In the [December] data green shoots were appearing and then that was taken away.
"Communication is important. The government can't always, as we've seen, have a perfect script but the more the communication and collaboration the better, especially on the ground with those who understand the communities best."
Mr McFarlane said governments should be agile with support and recognise where decisions such as border closures have hurt businesses.
"The government needs to be nimble," he said.
"So in terms of where there is an issue that is created by one of their actions, there is that flexibility."