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Businesses call for support to cover losses from snap three-day lockdown

Business

Queensland small businesses are still waiting for a pledge of direct compensation after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s lockdown announcement, as the opposition ramps up its push for support packages.

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Local government areas of southeast Queensland, Townsville City and Palm Island enter their first of a three-day snap lockdown on Wednesday, as the state braces for new coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday it emerged a 19-year-old receptionist at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane travelled to the state’s north and was infectious in the community for 10 days before being tested.

She was found to have the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.

While millions of Queenslanders are plunged into another lockdown, Opposition Leader David Crisafulli has called for a comprehensive business support package for small and family businesses.

Crisafulli says there is a critical need for such a package as school holiday plans come to an abrupt halt.

“People are crying out for certainty and the absence of it means decisions that have to be made in real time,” he said.

“So whether or not that’s an amount to cover perishables, whether that’s a safety net for their staff, whether or not it’s the assurance that if you are one of those venues who are impacted, the deep cleaning cost and the ability to mobilise it will be assisted by the government.”

Crisafulli cited a Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) report that found the previous snap lockdown cost businesses up to $600 million.

A survey earlier this year found medium-sized business lost up to $65,000 in three days, with smaller businesses on average losing between $12,000 to $58,000.

In a statement on Tuesday, the CCIQ called for payments of up to $25,000 to affected businesses to cover loss of stock and trade.

Meanwhile event organisers in the state’s southeast have been forced into last-minute cancellations.

The Gold Coast marathon on July 3-4 will not take place for its second consecutive year and the Scenic Rim’s Winter Harvest Festival has also been cancelled.

Questions are also being asked about the Wallabies’ opening test match against France in Brisbane scheduled for July 7, after it was moved from the Sydney Cricket Ground in light of NSW’s recent COVID cluster.

Queensland health authorities say future measures will be shaped by testing results in the coming days.

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