In a cruel move, Labor is cutting back on small business support during the latest lockdown. Small business support of $3500 (for licensed venues) or $2500 in Lockdown 4 has been slashed to just $3000 and $2000 respectively for Lockdown 5.
This cruel cutting of support denies the reality that the damage to small business caused by Labor’s lockdowns gets worse, not better, under each new lockdown.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of small businesses remain unable to access any support at all, given Labor’s insistence on GST registration; a requirement that does not apply in New South Wales.
To add insult to injury, on the day Labor announced Lockdown 5, small businesses throughout the state received horror news that the business support they were waiting on from Lockdown 4 was refused.
The bulk email sent to small businesses details the refusal of promised money, but no specific reason why the individual small businesses didn’t qualify, instead expecting eligible small business owners to contact a call centre.
Many small businesses who received the email met the eligibility criteria, but have been refused their promised funding for Lockdown 4. As a consequence, they will also be denied support for Lockdown 5.
The bulk email comes 80 days after the Victorian Ombudsman’s damning report into previous Labor COVID business support failures.
In April, the Ombudsman detailed “the COVID-19 lockdowns fell like a hammer blow on small businesses. There was desperation in people’s voices, they were counting on a grant to pay bills, rent, wages - to survive.”
“Despite the stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19, in an environment where their businesses were being destroyed, people were being penalised.”
The Ombudsman found the Department unreasonably refused some applications, refusing to reassess them even after the Ombudsman highlighted the harshness of its decisions.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Michael O’Brien:
“Cutting small business support for Lockdown 5 is a low act and shows that Labor couldn’t care less about Victorian small businesses and their staff.
“The Andrews Labor Government promised to throw a lifeline to struggling small businesses during its fourth lockdown. Now, after being caught out by the Ombudsman before, we find they have just refused support en masse again.
“This is a government that promised to pay up and failed. These small businesses didn't ask to have their doors closed, the Andrews Labor Government closed them.
“We need Victoria’s small businesses, we need the jobs they provide, we need the economic boost in our COVID recovery and Daniel Andrews, despite the talk, has turned his back.”