As Victoria starts into its fourth lockdown, businesses have been all but forgotten.
Once again, many businesses struggle to comprehend how they will pay their bills, rent, and staff including the thousands of casuals left with no support.
At yesterday’s Parliamentary hearings into the 2021/22 State Budget, both the Treasurer, Tim Pallas and the Department of Treasury and Finance Secretary, David Martine offered little solace to Victorian businesses.
The Treasurer was repeatedly asked what support would be given to Victorian businesses affected by the latest snap lockdown. All he could offer was a shameful, “we’ll have more to say on that later.”
In February, Victoria’s snap 5-day lockdown was estimated to cost the economy $1 billion, and that was when JobKeeper was still available.
Asked about the financial costs of this current fourth lockdown, Mr Martine could only offer a meagre, “it will have an impact.”
Under intense questioning from the Deputy Chair of Public Account and Estimates Committee, Richard Riordan, the Secretary was unable to identify what constitutes a short term or long term lockdown or how many days of future lockdowns are factored into Budget estimates.
Comments attributable to Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley:
“Given its track record of failure in contact tracing, it is beyond comprehension that Labor has not planned and not budgeted for another lockdown.
“Businesses are still reeling from the February snap lockdown, and many are only just getting back on their feet. The Treasurer should have done the work to ensure that businesses can be supported through another lockdown.
“Yet again, Labor has turned its back on Victorian businesses.”