A SURVEY conducted first in April and then again in June, has shown that the transport and waste and recycling sectors are still positive about their prospects of recovering from the affects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the Victorian Transport Association and the Victorian Waste Management Association participated in the COVID Insight Survey, which showed continued and in some cases strengthened optimism.

Some 60% of respondents expect international trade to increase over the next four months, an increase of 15% from the last survey. And just three in 10 (30%) members expect their staffing levels to decrease over the next three months.

Slightly more members (25%) reported a decline in customers since the first survey (23%); and a massive 80% of members surveyed said they intended to invest in new capital equipment before the end of the year, a 16% improvement on the first survey (64%).

VTA and VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said the transport industry should be encouraged by the general improvement in optimism expressed by respondents, particularly the willingness by operators to invest in their people and their businesses despite some of the economic headwinds caused by coronavirus.

“It is one thing to say you are optimistic about a recovery, but when operators are prepared to put their hands in their pockets and purchase new capital equipment – as respondents have overwhelmingly said they are prepared to do – it suggests that there is renewed confidence in and from our sector.

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“The extension of the instant asset write-off until the end of the year by the Commonwealth has no doubt been a factor in operators being prepared to invest in their businesses, and we thank the government for extending the scheme and, along with JobKeeper, giving businesses the tangible economic support they needed to invest with confidence.”

Mr Anderson was also encouraged that members had generally weathered the coronavirus well, with minimal reports of lost customers.

“Some business downturn was always expected however the general sentiment members have expressed in our conversations with them is that their customers are fairly loyal, and in many cases relationships have become stronger.

“I think this demonstrates the genuine appreciation between customers and suppliers that we are all in this together, and that by sharing our problems and working together, our prospects for recovery are stronger.

Along with the general improvement in optimism, Anderson said it was encouraging that complacency has not set in, with more respondents reporting they have built contingency plans for less revenue over the next four months.

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