ASBFEO welcomes support for SMEs struggling with lockdown

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The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has welcomed Federal Government’s support package for small businesses impacted by the exttended COVID lockdown in NSW.

The package will mean that small and family businesses that have suffered a reduction in turnover of at least 30 per cent will receive 40 per cent of their payroll payments (between $1500 and $10,000 per week) as long as they maintain their pre-lockdown staffing levels. And sole traders whose revenue falls at least 30 per cent will receive $1000 per week.

The payments, co-funded by the Federal and NSW Governments and administered by Services NSW, will be made from week four of the lockdown.

“Extended lockdowns and COVID restrictions have been devastating for many Australian small and family businesses,” Billson said. “This latest Commonwealth commitment is in line with our calls for a clear national framework that identifies what support will be available as lockdowns and restrictions are introduced.

“Small and family businesses that have an understanding of what government support can be counted on when public health measures come into effect, are given a greater opportunity to plan and navigate their business through the difficult period,” Billson added.

“Of course, the small-business community needs support from the private sector as well and the banks have led with the re-activation of measures to help small businesses with loan repayments. It is critical that other service providers and suppliers, such as landlords and utility companies, follow suit,” Billson stressed.

“Unfortunately, there has been a worrying deterioration in payment times over recent months. Now is not the time to delay paying small business supplier invoices when cashflow is essential to their survival and recovery. There is no doubt that lockdowns and trading restrictions put small and family businesses under enormous pressure.

Billson also commended the government’s commitment to supporting the mental health of business owners through an additional $17 million in funding to crucial mental health support services.

“I encourage those in small and family businesses who are struggling to cope, to reach out by visiting our My Business Health web portal or registering for Beyond Blue’s New Access for Small Business Owners program,” Billson said.