MORE NEEDED FOR BUSINESSES AND WORKERS DURING COVID LOCKDOWN FOR BUSINESSES AND WORKERS
JOINT STATEMENT BY:
CHRIS MINNS MP,NSW LABOR LEADER,DANIEL ,MOOKHEY MLC,SHADOW TREASURER &
STEVE KAMPER MP,SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS
NSW Labor supports the Government’s decision in acting on the health advice and introducing further restrictions to stop the spread of this deadly disease.
I know how hard this lockdown is for all of us.
Families juggling school holidays with following health orders. Workers who have lost their hours or income. Small businesses who have been asked to close, waiting to reopen. Tourism operators looking forward to holiday customers, now sitting empty.
So many workers and businesses have made massive sacrifices to protect our health and save people’s lives
With the lockdown set to continue, the NSW Government now must do more to help businesses and workers save their livelihoods.
I offer NSW Labor’s immediate bipartisan support for any of the following policies. No side of politics has a monopoly on good ideas. I hope the Government considers them all.
–Extend business support.
The previous package was for two weeks. This extended lockdown will bring tremendous hardship for workers and businesses and extending support for small businesses is critical – both in helping businesses cover short term costs, and rent payments. This must apply to businesses outside the lockdown regions who have been impacted, and also businesses below the $75,000 turnover cap on a case by case basis (for example, businesses who would be above the cap if not for COVID, or businesses who have only been trading for a limited period of time).
–Extend support for workers.
The NSW Government must work with the Commonwealth Government to extend support for workers and offer further payments to those who have lost jobs or lost hours. This is critical to help people pay the bills, and keep rental payments flowing. There needs to be a guarantee that Commonwealth payments will flow each week to all eligible workers – and that the NSW Government will step in to bridge any gap to make sure that no one faces hardship due to these restrictions. No one should be forced to choose between breaking health advice or facing financial hardship.
-Tourism recovery plan.
This virus has robbed families of school holidays, and tourism operators of the customers they were desperately relying on. Once it is safe to do so, a comprehensive tourism recovery plan and package needs to be developed to support the industry, including grants, incentives, and a campaign advertising the beauty of travelling in NSW. This would provide a lifeline to operators, and a deserving break for families.
The NSW Government should work with the Commonwealth Government to ensure no residential tenant or small business faces eviction as a result of loss of income due to this three week lockdown. Working with the Commonwealth Government, this could be done in the form of loans to cover rental costs, or as part of an expanded small business program. In any case, it must be better targeted than the previous NSW Government rental program, which left almost $350 million unspent.
Labor called for an additional Dine and Discover voucher for takeaway food during lockdown. That would be a huge benefit to businesses struggling to survive a third week of restrictions, and provide relief to families. Further options of extending the Dine and Discover program to encourage tourism and spending in local cafes and restaurants after the lockdown lifts must also be explored.
-A plan for the way forward.
There needs to be a clear roadmap for businesses and families to provide clarity and certainty. It must also focus on rolling out the COVID vaccine from GPs, pharmacies and in workplace – so we can work towards stopping the spread of the virus, and avoiding future lockdowns.
If we’re all in this together, we need to make sure we look after each other too.
As difficult as a longer lockdown will be, it will be worth it to get through this latest COVID outbreak.
Remember – follow the health advice, mask up, get vaccinated, and let’s beat this virus.