Despite welcome stimulatory measures announced by both state and federal governments aimed at keeping Australians in jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illawarra Business Chamber has raised concern for the many local businesses with between one and 15 employees that are already under immense financial strain.
These micro and smaller businesses fall below the payroll tax threshold and are more often operating in sectors that will be heavily exposed to a decline in revenue due to social distancing and the banning of large events.
“While there is a second Commonwealth stimulus package being announced today, which we expect will include provisions aimed at supporting those who may become unemployed, we are calling for every other lever to be pulled to keep the doors of small businesses open in the Illawarra,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
“The announcement that banks will allow small business customers to defer loan repayments by six months is also a major relief.”
“Commercial landlords, particularly the operators of large Illawarra shopping centres, must consider rent relief to help keep their tenants in business. Larger businesses must put hardship provisions in place for debtors to keep their business customers operating.”
“In turn, we’ve called on Councils to come forward with immediate rate relief for commercial landlords to ensure all contractors are rapidly paid and to bring forward all capital expenditure to keep the construction sector moving.”
“Finally, but most importantly, we the community need to support our businesses if we want to see them survive. They are working particularly hard right now to adjust their business models to the emerging environment, and we need to reward them with our custom.”
“The Illawarra Business Chamber is working to keep our members informed of their responsibilities as employers through our online employer toolkit and will be providing advice on how to quickly respond, whether it be to get their business trading online for the first time ever and to offer their services virtually.”
“We are also testing the temperature of our members across the region, and are encouraging everyone to fill out our member survey
to ensure conditions on the ground can be relayed back to government,” said Mr Zarth.
Media contact – Adam Zarth (0404 146 829)