Accounting body, CPA Australia, has called on the Victorian Government to compensate businesses for losses incurred since the last state-wide lockdown ended on 27 July. In addition, it should immediately announce business supports for the current lock down and deliver these urgently.
Andrew Hunter, the Chief Executive of CPA Australia, said businesses were not lightbulbs that could simply be switched on and off at random.
“Victorian businesses have not had time to re-establish their cashflow and many are still re-building their perishable inventory. It’s frankly heartbreaking what they’re going through right now,” he said.
Businesses must be compensated for their sacrifice
“The brevity of Victoria’s re-opening on this occasion will significantly compound business losses.
He said CPA Australia’s stance was that lockdowns are important public health measures. But, at the same time, they denied or reduced a business owner’s ability to earn a living and businesses should be compensated appropriately for their sacrifice.
“This is a Victorian decision, but a national issue. New South Wales and Queensland businesses are also operating on a knife’s edge right now. Governments around the country need to give greater consideration to the welfare of the business sector and its employees,” Hunter urged.
CPA Australia has repeatedly asked governments to provide details of business support packages when lockdowns are announced, not in the days or weeks afterwards.
Supports should be announced as lockdowns happen
“I’m extremely disappointed that business supports were not shared when the lockdown was announced. These announcements should go hand in glove,” Hunter stated.
Meanwhile, the always outspoken Australian Retailers’ Association has labelled Victoria’s sixth lockdown of the pandemic a “knockout blow for many battle-weary businesses that are on the brink of financial, emotional and mental health collapse”.
The association’s CEO, Paul Zahra, said: “A state-wide lockdown in Victoria puts around a billion dollars’ worth for retail trade at risk. What’s equally as damaging is the emotional cost, with Victorians only recently emerging from their last lockdown. Just as businesses were opening their doors, they’ve been turned off again like a light switch.
“Commonwealth and State Government supports only go so far. The trauma and anguish these lockdowns cause will be felt long after they are gone.”