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Bunbury: community support and resilience through adverse events

Businesses in Bunbury have shown remarkable resilience, and following COVID-19, the local economy is making a good recovery.

While Bunbury did not experience large COVID-19 outbreaks or extended lockdowns in 2020 or early 2021, businesses have still been impacted by continual border closures. Many businesses have, and continue to adjust to, new restrictions by moving online, working from home, and adapting services.

How did Bunbury fare through COVID-19?

As a small business owner in Bunbury, have you wondered how the pandemic has affected your area compared to the rest of Australia? While Bunbury fared relatively well compared to other regions, it has still been impacted in many ways.

Across Australia, industries operating in food and beverage services, air travel and tourism, creative arts and entertainment, and sports and recreation activities have been reported among those most impacted by COVID-191. These types of businesses rely heavily on the physical presence of customers and face many challenges in adapting to restrictions.

There is not a considerable overlap between the industries hit hardest by COVID-19 Australia-wide and the top industries in Bunbury. In Bunbury, these industries make up 20% of jobs2.

This means, 6.5% of local businesses applied for JobKeeper support during the pandemic, placing Bunbury at number 392/506 of Australia’s Local Government Areas requiring this support3.

Employment fell by 0.9% immediately following COVID-19 but made a quick recovery. Employment is now higher in many industries compared to pre-pandemic times4.

The impact of COVID on small businesses in Bunbury

The Ahead for Business team has been engaging with the Bunbury small business community since mid-2020. Through this experience, the team found that small business owners in Bunbury were most stressed about adjustments to working from home and feeling like things were outside of their control during the midst of the pandemic.

There are also a lot of businesses that rely on tourism in the region to bring customers. With hard border closures both domestically and internationally, many businesses faced considerable decreases in revenue.

Understandably, as a small business owner you may feel stressed during these uncertain times. It is therefore essential that you look after yourself.

Looking after your wellbeing in Bunbury

With the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, you may continue to be faced with the challenges that come with restrictions and uncertainty. It is important to be prepared and proactive about looking after your mental health during these times. Taking care of yourself, even when you are feeling mentally healthy, will put you in a better position to cope when things aren’t going so well. There are a lot of ways you can look after yourself and improve your mental wellbeing as a small business owner in Bunbury.

  • Get active: Take a walk around Bunbury and breathe in that fresh air. There are so many beautiful walks around to take advantage of. You could even join your local gym to do some more high intensity activity.
  • Chat with others: Join one of your local networking groups such as Bunbury Business Club or Network Bunbury. You can chat with other like-minded business owners who will understand your business challenges.
  • Social connection: Maintain connections with friends and family. You can even connect with other locals in different events in your area.
  • Do something relaxing: This might be a bubble bath with candles, a trip to your local day spa, or taking a meditation or yoga class.
  • Prioritise your health: Make time to attend health appointments and visit your local GP. Looking after your physical and mental health is important for your wellbeing.
  • Change your workplace: Make small changes to your day-to-day activities. For example, take your lunch breaks, go for a small walk or finish work on time.

Practical financial support for Bunbury businesses

Despite JobKeeper and other government supports ending, there is some financial assistance you can access as a small business owner.

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