Probe into impact of Covid

RESEARCH is underway into the socio-economic impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Sponsored by Westpac, researchers from Western Sydney University have launched a decade-long ‘Future Directions’ project to examine eight socio-economic ‘influencers’ within Cumberland as well as the Blacktown City, City of Parramatta and Hills Shire Councils.
Welcoming the research, Cumberland Mayor Steve Christou said as restrictions continued to eased many businesses, particularly restaurants, were also slowly recovering.
He said the pandemic had also “woken up” some to another way of doing business, including deliveries and takeaway, which was likely to continue but a return to normal would not happen for “a long, long time”.
“Most of the places I’ve spoken to (say) if we had had another month or two of lockdown, they would have folded,” he said.
“I just hope they look into, and are able to study, what worked during the pandemic, what didn’t work and how we can improve things moving forward.
“I am proud of this collaboration and look forward to implementing the research so that we are best equipped to deliver programs which will benefit the businesses and residents of the area.
“The Central City district is very important economically to NSW and we’ll be the fastest growing district over the next 20 years.
“We will respond decisively and innovatively together to achieve the desired socioeconomic outcomes for our region.”
He said the council continued to offer support to local businesses by suspending fees for outdoor dining spaces, providing rent relief for tenants in council-owned properties, and the ongoing ‘shop local’ campaign.
A report on Future Directions is set to be delivered by February 2021.