Regional tourism and seafood hub has a business problem

South Australian Business News  •  Regional News
Benjamin Opiyo
Tuesday, December 12th 2023

The Eyre Peninsula retains the title of Australia’s seafood hub, notwithstanding the increasing supplier prices and skills shortages that businesses face.

Businesses operate in a volatile environment due to soaring energy prices, labour costs and interest rates.

They say the cost of materials and suppliers have increased, leading to a high-demand, low-availability scenario. This has caused stalling of planned projects with some forced to source externally.

According to preliminary results of the South Australian Business Chamber Regional Voice Survey, 67% of businesses are experiencing labour shortages. 50% face the challenge of recruiting high skilled workers.

Businesses say it remains difficult to source suppliers, trades, and employees the further they are away from Adelaide. Some decry the work ethic of available workers and new apprentices. 

These labour challenges have not dampened tourism prospects.

In the year ending December 2022, visitors spent $503 million. 69% of the visitors were South Australians. They were catered to by 600 tourism businesses.

The region is known locally and internationally for seafood. Eyre Peninsula and Whyalla accounts for 82% of seafood produced in SA.

But taxes and training costs are eating their lunch.

Most businesses cited company tax rates and personal income tax rates as constraints to growth.

67% are concerned about a lack of local training options while another 67% struggle to bear the costs of undertaking training, such as interstate travel. Some pointed out the lack of funding when the business spends up to $3000 per trip to train employees.

Most businesses also called for government support in social infrastructure investment, especially, schools, hospitals, and childcare facilities.

Housing also remains a challenge for businesses who need to attract skilled workforce.

While these challenges threaten the future of businesses, grant funding and tourism growth have provided a lifeline, albeit for now.

The South Australian Business Chamber is collecting views from regional SA businesses. Those views help the South Australian Business Chamber to champion for better conditions.

Let your voice be heard. Respond to the survey here. 


Benjamin Opiyo

Marketing and Communications Intern
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