Regions are optimistic despite cost and labour pressures persisting

People in the regions are known for their resilience, and the same is true for regional businesses, as CCIWA’s latest Regional Pulse Report March 2023 finds. 

The report finds regional businesses are cautiously optimistic, as they face ongoing cost pressures and workforce shortages. 

“These businesses need relief, and the most direct way support can be provided is by reducing WA’s high payroll tax burden,” said CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey.  

“Ahead of the State Budget, expected to confirm a strong financial position, we encourage the Treasurer to ensure WA businesses no longer bear the highest payroll tax burden in the country.” 


Almost half (47%) of regional businesses expect to economy the weaken in the next 12-months. This is most prevalent among businesses in the Great Southern (67%), South West (57%) and Goldfields-Esperance (54%).  

On the positive side, one quarter (25%) of respondents feel long-term conditions will improve, which was most reflected by businesses in the Pilbara (55%). 

Barriers to business 

“Concern about rising operating costs is now the number one concern for regional businesses (80%),” said CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey. 

“This concern is most widespread in the Great Southern (89%), Pilbara (83%) and Mid-West/Gascoyne (80%) regions. Much of this is driven by higher labour costs, which are rising for four in five regional businesses (83%), a six-point increase.” 

Availability of skilled labour follows closely as the second barrier for regional businesses (77%), which is felt most in the Great Southern (94%), Pilbara (92%), and Mid West/Gascoyne (87%). 

Supply chain disruptions have eased further, as identified by just below two in five (39%) regional businesses, down six percentage points from the previous quarter.  

Worker shortages 

Difficulty sourcing skilled workers is impacting three quarters (72%) of regional businesses. Regions most affected by worker shortages are the Great Southern (89%) and Goldfields-Esperance (85%).  

General tradesperson was the occupation in demand, as reported being within the top three roles in required across all regions.  

To address worker shortages, two thirds (65%) of regional businesses are investing in training new employees. A similar proportion (63%) are upskilling existing staff and 61% are increasing existing employees’ wages.  

CCIWA’s economic reports, including Business Confidence, are available exclusively to CCIWA Advantage and Corporate Members. For more, see CCIWA’s Economic Insight page.    


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