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$5000 payments welcome but business group calls for long term recovery plan

Business

The Queensland businesses community would welcome the relief of the Government’s $5000 support payments but it needed a long-term recovery plan and quick access to the payments, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said.

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Treasurer Cameron Dick says grants of up $5000 will be available for any small and medium businesses impacted by the lockdown, interstate lockdowns and border closures.

He says the $260 million program will be up and running as soon as possible, but that may take two weeks.

“That will be twice as fast as NSW,” Mr Dick told reporters.

“NSW spent four weeks setting up their processes. We have looked at that very carefully inside government and we aim to get the application process going within two weeks, in a fortnight.”

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s policy and advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan welcomed the grants, which her organisation has been calling for since March.

She said it was essential that the government start making the grants available as soon as possible and soon the two week delay was not good enough.

Liberal National Party David Crisafulli welcomed the grants but said they would not go far enough.

He said sole traders with revenue of less than $75,000 are excluded and $5000 may not be enough support for larger businesses.

“I’ve had phone calls from sole traders who run businesses that turnover less than $75,000 and they’ve asked: what’s in it for me, the answer is nothing,” Crisafulli told reporters.

“I’ve had phone calls from larger businesses that say $5000, whilst welcome, isn’t going to be enough to keep the wolf from the door.”

Meanwhile workers who lose more than 20 hours of work per week will be able to access federal payments of up to $750 per week.

Those who lose eight to 20 hours of work per week will be able to access weekly payments of $450.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said those payments would be available to sole traders as well

“If they’ve gone through this lockdown, then they’ll be able to get that support payment and that’ll come through very, very promptly,” he told 4BC Radio.

“They’ve been able to do it sometimes in as little as half an hour or a couple of days, which will happen over the course of that weekend.

“So people can, will know that’s there, and hopefully it won’t go beyond that.”

Dick said the previous lockdowns had been months apart which had allowed business to recover.

“But we understand two lockdowns within a month presents a new challenge, which is why I am announcing this package today,’’ he said.

Small and medium businesses were defined as those that employ staff, have a turnover of more than $75,000 a year and have an annual payroll of up to $10 million. Large tourism and hospitality business are defined as those with a turnover of greater than $10 million.

CCIQ Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said the payments were an especially welcome relief for businesses.

“While many businesses will be in lockdown for the fourth time this year, there is some relief with the government coming to the party with these $5000 payments for not only those in hotspots but businesses across the state who are able to prove lockdowns impacted their viability,” she said. 

“We welcome the acknowledgement of the financial and emotional impact a lockdown can have on business owners, not only for the duration of a lockdown but beyond when restrictions ease. 

“For that reason, we need to see a long-term recovery plan for businesses to help them get back to businesses when lockdowns end. 

“It’s also important to acknowledge the same as a lockdown can impact business and consumer confidence outside a hotspot, supporting those business forced to close can go a long way in helping the broader Queensland economy recover.

 “We have been calling for a support package since March and after businesses endured two lockdowns without support in place. These payments are a lockdown lifeline we and the business community welcome.”

Rohan said businesses still needed to know details on how they were able to access the assistance and what information or supporting documentation they needed to apply so they were able to access the payments quickly and efficiently.

 “We know the payments can support businesses to pay ongoing bills and overheads during a lockdown, maintain their commitment to staff who rely on them and support them and in getting back to business as soon as possible,” Ms Rohan said.

“What we need now is for business to have timely, efficient and effective access to these payments to ensure they’re able to maximise the potential for the package to make a meaningful impact where it’s needed most.

 “Businesses have waited a long time for this lockdown support and they can’t financially or emotionally afford to wait any longer.”

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