While we welcome tapping on the roof from life-giving rain, the drought continues to inflict challenges to small local businesses.
It was hoped that Christmas might return better sales. At best, it appears patchy. Rural service businesses appear steady, retail giftware and clothing has been up and down (good up to Christmas, very quiet following), hospitality has been affected by the bush fires with far fewer tourists, and accommodation and visitation is down.
There is no doubt that our region is showing signs of economic stress, with an increasing number of vacant shops and businesses feeling the pinch.
There is no doubt that our region is showing signs of economic stress.
This raises a question of the Federal Drought Communities Programme.
Upper Lachlan Shire was fortunate to receive a $1 million grant from the Federal Government that was immediately allocated to Peelwood Road bridge construction.
Is it time for our shire to consider the impact of drought on our commercial sectors?
If, in future we receive a grant, perhaps a percentage of it could be directed back into our wider community to spend within the Upper Lachlan Shire. This would inject additional money into our local economy.
There are several methods of achieving this by giving out gift or credit cards to a certain value that is only valid within Upper Lachlan Shire.
While support for better roads and bridges is a given, we also must have a thriving, healthy economy to attract new settlers, tourists and new businesses that can offer employment.
A little more balance toward encouraging our hardworking small businesses, who directly support our community, would be beneficial for all.