Return to lockdown leaves Vic businesses at tipping point

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is warning that the return to stage three restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne, which came into force overnight, is going to have a severe impact on businesses in the state that were just starting to get back on their feet.

While acknowledging that it is important to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control for the sake of the long-term economy of the state and of Australia as a whole, the Chamber warned that another six weeks of restrictions will mean some businesses having to to shut down permanently.

“Melbourne businesses and workers will once again be asked to bear the brunt of the Covid-19 crisis, and we know this will be the final straw for some,” the Chamber’s Chief Executive, Paul Guerra, said. “Successfully managing the health crisis in Victoria is vital to Australia’s success in safeguarding against Covid-19, but the business and jobs crisis has just deepened from these necessary actions.

“Last week our position on JobKeeper was for it to be tailored to specific sectors and refined,” Guerra added. “Victoria is now months behind other states in recovery and the Victorian Chamber believes JobKeeper should be extended for a period of a least two months to give our businesses the runway they need to get up and running before the scheme ends. We are also working with the State Government on additional support measures for this upcoming period.

“We support the return to lockdown because there is no alternative. Governments and the entire community must do more now to get Victoria in a position to be able to reopen fully,” Guerra said. “The Victorian Government was excellent in signposting major changes during the first wave of coronavirus and we need that now as we return to these restrictions.

“The Victorian Chamber stands ready to help any business affected by the shutdowns and invites them to contact us to access support.”

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