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Editorial February 28th 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

March the 1st will bring with it the first day of Autumn. Cooler nights, shorter days and fading memories of summer as we prepare for our annual ‘quiet time’. Autumn into winter and then into spring usually sees locals thinking of visiting friends and family in more warmer climes, taking holidays afar, exploring countryside to the north and west. An exodus that leaves the coast quiet, and the beaches empty with the exception of a fisher or two. These quiet six months are usually a time for those who flurried during the peak summer trading to take stock, to refresh and to rest a little, content that they have made enough in trade to get them through the retail slump ahead. But this is not a typical March 1st day. Summer was certainly not what you might have called typical and the purses for all across the region, reliant on the summer influx are all but empty. But there is hope ahead for a turn around coming from a godsend borne from misery. We may well have a building boom. And with such a boom comes workers and incomes. With 500 homes destroyed in the fires in our region alone there will be a high demand for trades, for materials, transport and the ancilliary services required to reconstruct. The trades will need accommodation, food, their own services and provision for their own needs. This will inevitably see a major injection in the region. But it will take time. Presently there is a backlog of properties to be cleared of fire debris. There are barriers still remaining of where fire affected building material will be dumped and there is a limit of contractors available for the task. Next there are the insurance claims that have to be processed and then the paper work of plans being lodged, quotes being sought and then building teams assembled. Within the region we have our own trades, our own builders and suppliers but already t is clear that we will need more to meet our own task. This presents a problem in that there is an equal demand for contractors, trades, apprentices, services and materials across NSW and into Queensland and Victoria. Everyone will be vying for attention from what is a small pool. So things might take time. This lesson is already being felt in Northern NSW and Queensland as they encountered their fires early in the season. Meanwhile, after just a few short weeks since the corona virus outbreak saw Chinese exports contained we are beginning to see the effect of supply come into place. This is big picture stuff about supply and demand and I can only hope someone is in charge.

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