As the Covid crisis in Greater Sydney deepens, the Federal Government’s joint assistance package with the NSW Government offers a very timely lifeline to thousands of businesses forced to close their doors or significantly reduce trading in the current lockdown.
This is according to local business groups, with the Acting CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jenny Lambert, calling it a “strong package”.
“So many SMEs who fought to stay in business in 2020 are back to square one as a result of this crisis,” she said.
“[The] additional support package – extending the national disaster payment scheme and increasing the payment for extended lockdowns, as well as providing businesses with a cashflow boost of up to $10,000 per week – will save jobs and help protect livelihoods.”
Crucial support to businesses struggling to pay bills
“This is a strong package and we appreciate the swift and coordinated response by the Federal and NSW Governments.
“The increase of disaster payments to $600 for workers in an extended lockdown is vital as each week that goes by makes it harder for people to cover their essential expenses.”
Lambert said the cashflow boost of up to $10,000, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, provides crucial support to embattled businesses struggling to pay bills and survive the forced lockdown period.
The payments are available to businesses experiencing a decrease in revenue of 30% or more.
“Importantly, to access this support businesses are required to maintain their headcount, which offers security for workers and will enable businesses to quickly re-establish their workforce and get back to work immediately when the lockdown ends.”
The Australian Chamber’s state affiliate, Business NSW, has found revenue declined at a greater rate for business in the first two weeks of the current lockdown, compared to the first month of the initial lockdown in March 2020.
State and Federal collaboration is vital for all regions
“The Federal and State Governments collaborating on an approach that deals with extended lockdowns is not just important for Sydney now, but what may still happen in any city or region across Australia until vaccination rates change the restriction choices available to government,” Lambert stated.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott said the new package to support jobs would be a critical lifeline for thousands of workers and their employers.
“This lockdown will end, and when it does this package means businesses will be ready to ramp back up quickly and keep the recovery going,” she noted.
“Once again, State and Federal governments have stepped in and put workers first by keeping them connected to their employers.”