Stimulus advice line inundated with calls

Business Australia have created a new online hub to provide COVID-related information to business owners on the back of a surge of calls from people looking for advice.

The organisation reported a 65 per cent increase in calls from those struggling to navigate their way through the issues thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stimulus Advice Line serves as an online hub for news and information, including tools and resources for business owners trying to navigate the rapidly-changing situation. The new hub is a national resource but has also been designed to be able to offer tailored advice to support business owners in Victoria who are having to deal with Level 3 and Level 4 restrictions, depending on whether they are based in a regional area or metropolitan Melbourne.

Business Australia is encouraging business owners to seek out and apply for support including:

  • Operational ability: if the business is permitted to operate and under what capacity.
  • Government assistance: information on over 1500 government grants, including additional COVID support in VIC under the Business Support Fund Expansion program via VIC Gov.
  • Right advice: expert help and advice on the COVID Safe plan and workplace health and safety, employee management.
  • Workers permits: especially for essential workers in Victoria who are required to carry one.
  • Temporary solutions: correct information on how to stand-down employees.
  • Paid pandemic leave: information as to when it can be accessed, how and by whom.

Business Australia Chief Customer Experience Officer Richard Spencer has urged businesses to act quickly to protect their businesses and employees, ensuring they understand their obligations as an employer.

“This is an incredibly challenging time for businesses in Australia,” Spencer said. “With unprecedented restrictions coming into force in this second wave, particularly in Victoria, it is inevitable that we will continue to see more businesses severely impacted, or unfortunately closing, as a consequence.

“We strongly encourage business owners and managers to seek professional advice and take advantage of available financial support to provide the best chance of riding out the crisis,” Spencer added. “While there is a lot to consider for businesses right now, they are not alone, Business Australia is doing its best to provide tools, resources and crucial education to help them survive.”

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