Covid19 is having a significant negative impact on Australia’s economy in terms of growth and unemployment. It looks certain that we will have our first recession in 27 years. Furthermore, this economic disruption is different. It is going to leave some scars and things will not go back to ‘business as usual’. But Covid19 is creating just as many opportunities for those willing to take them.

So how is this economic disruption playing out at a local level? Are all local economies across Australia impacted in the same way to the same degree?

The list below is a sample of 33 Local Government Areas (LGA) from Sydney Metro and Regional NSW. They are all ranked in in terms of economic growth measured in Gross Regional Product (GRP).

1 Sydney LGA -15.8%
2 Sutherland LGA -15.6%
3 Willoughby LGA -14.2%
4 Canterbury-Bankstown LGA -14.1%
5 Ryde LGA -13.9%
6 Woollahra LGA -13.7%
7 Campbelltown LGA -13.6%
8 Randwick LGA -13.1%
9 Hornsby LGA -12.7%
10 Fairfield LGA -12.4%
11 Tamworth LGA -12.3%
12 Wollongong LGA -12%
13 Cumberland LGA -11.8%
14 Blacktown LGA -11.2%
15 Tweed LGA -11.1%
16 Lithgow LGA -11.1%
17 Parramatta LGA -10.8%
18 Penrith LGA -10.8%
19 Ballina LGA -10.8%
20 Queanbeyan-Palerang LGA -10.4%
21 Armidale LGA -10.3%
22 Camden LGA -9.7%
23 Gunnedah LGA -9.7%
24 Kyogle LGA -9.6%
25 Bathurst LGA -9.4%
26 Griffith LGA -9.4%
27 Goulbourn LGA -9.3%
28 Wollondilly LGA -8.8%
29 Bellingen LGA -8.6%
30 Hilltops LGA -8.3%
31 Lismore LGA -7.9%
32 Parkes LGA -7.5%
33 Murrumbidgee LGA -4%

Source: National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) Version 1.1 (May 2020). ©2020 Compiled and presented in by .id

It is undeniable that Covid19 is impacting upon Metropolitan Sydney more than Regional NSW. The areas most impacted are Sydney LGA suffering a -15.8% decline, closely followed by Sutherland (-15.6%), Willoughby (-14.2%), Canterbury-Bankstown (-14.1%) and Ryde (-13.9%).

The areas in NSW that are least affected are Murrumbidgee LGA with only -4% decline and Parkes, Lismore, Hilltops and Bellingen all declining between 7 – 8%. This is 50% less severe than many parts of Metropolitan Sydney.

Looking to the future, what will be more important than these initial results is which communities can bounce back the fastest? Which communities will need to re-invent themselves? And which communities are willing to explore new sources of growth?

Communities that are likely to be the winners post Covid19 will not adopt a ‘Laissez-Faire’ economic policy. Just hoping that everything sorts itself out and goes back to normal isn’t good enough. Now is the time for community leaders, business owners and policy makers to have the courage and imagination to plan for a more resilient and innovation economic future.