Labor fails small business

Daniel Andrews has dismally let down mum and dad businesses, failing to support them in a timely and fair way.

Of the more than 600,000 small businesses in Victoria, the Andrews Labor Government has claimed to have only supported around 129,000 businesses of all sizes in Victoria - less than 22 per cent.

That’s despite the Andrews Labor Government causing their financial problems in the first place through its bungled Hotel Quarantine program and botched contact tracing operation, which led to Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus. Labor’s mistakes resulted in 801 deaths, more than 200,000 jobs lost and millions forced to endure the harshest lockdown in the country for 111 days.

The Liberal Nationals can reveal:

  • Of the 20 Business Support Programs presented by the Government, 14 (70 per cent) of them were unable to provide any details of their efficacy or how much money was actually given out to support businesses.

  • Of the six packages reported on by the government, less than half the promoted value of the package was actually distributed by 4 December 2020. That’s over six months past the introduction of restrictions and forced business closure. Half of the six packages had distributed 12 per cent or less of the value of the packages.

  • Only 4000 of the approximately 400,000 Victorian sole traders were eligible for support, and only $12 million of the Government’s $100 million allocated to sole traders was allocated by 4 December 2020.

  • The hospitality industry suffered the longest and most severe lockdown restrictions imposed by the Andrews Labor Government. Less than 50 per cent of the specialised support available was distributed by 4 December 2020.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Michael O’Brien:

“During Victoria’s harsh second wave lockdown we were inundated with complaints from business owners unable to access support. The few getting support complained of waits of up to two months. That’s simply not good enough.

“Critical financial support was too little, too late for tens of thousands of family business and sole traders, many who were destroyed by Daniel Andrews and his inaction.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Victorian economy but Andrews focus remains on the protecting the unions which are his major political donors.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Assistant Minister Scrutiny of Government, Richard Riordan:

“The Andrews Labor Government must immediately review its criteria for business support and aim to broaden its eligibility criteria.

“Andrews needs to consult with the tourism and hospitality sector to determine the best ways to distribute the vast sums of unallocated budget support, for those businesses who’ll continue to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions into 2021.

“We’re calling on the Andrews Labor Government to present to the Parliament a final summary of funds expended and detailed statistics of businesses supported for all of the 20 programs it has announced.”