The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has welcomed the initiative of federal and state governments to provide targeted and expanded financial payments for people and businesses in the areas hardest hit by the latest wave of lockdowns due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In a statement, Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said that these measures “will help keep people going,” She also welcomed the collaboration between the Federal government and New South Wales in easing the financial pressure on the affected people and businesses.
“Today’s financial package for the nation’s biggest state economy in NSW picks up the principles we have been arguing for – that financial assistance is targeted, adequate, expanded and timely for both individuals and businesses,” Westacott said. “Lifting the business turnover threshold to $250 million with maximum payments of $100,000 will help protect jobs and help businesses bounce back. We thank the Berejiklian and Morrison governments for their continued willingness to adapt to changing circumstances throughout the pandemic.”
Westacott also commended the NSW Premier for outlining the next four weeks of restrictions, providing much-needed certainty for businesses and the people of greater Sydney.
“The increased levels of assistance for workers and income support recipients will help people through this challenging time,” Westacott added. “We’re really pleased to see the disaster payment move to $1,500 a fortnight and additional support for people on JobSeeker. People, as well as businesses, have got to be able to bounce back.”
The BCA noted that the measures serve as a model for future COVID assistance. The body also commended the additional support given to affected businesses in Victoria, thanks to the shared efforts of the federal and Victorian governments.
“More than one-third of workers in greater Sydney, and particularly one-third of the construction workforce, will now be caught up in these restrictions,” Westacott said. “There is no doubt the extended lockdown will hurt the NSW and national economy. We will need to continue to finetune the definition of authorised workers while managing the health risk. We know that this government is responsible and pragmatic whilst maintaining the health of the population. This will help us maximise economic activity as we get the health situation under control.
“The return of construction in non-occupied settings…will help put a floor under the industry,” Westacott said. “The NSW construction sector is a vital part of the state’s economy with a ripple effect through the entire national economy. We must as fast as possible find a safe way back to the full operation of the construction sector.
“Business will always put the health and safety of workers at the forefront and COVID-safe plans are part of this. We will work with the government to ensure we are meeting all the requirements. Business stands ready to work with the NSW and federal governments to get NSW going again and chart an exit path,” Westacott concluded.