The region’s peak business organisation, the Illawarra Business Chamber, has welcomed the Federal Government’s $130 billion Job Keeper wage subsidy package, announced earlier today.

Businesses with a demonstrated 30 percent drop-off in turnover, or 50 percent for businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion, will be eligible for $1,500 per fortnight wage subsidy for each employee, which is to be passed on to their staff that may otherwise be out of work.
 
“This is about instilling confidence in businesses, to enable them to keep the doors open and keep their employees on the books so that the economy can start up again quickly,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.
 
“It is vital that we keep as many employees in their jobs and out of the welfare system as possible, and preserve their skills and connection to their employer.”
 
“This measure will allow affected businesses to either keep their doors open and maintain operations as best they can, or to go into hibernation for the next six months, and support their employees during this time.”
 
However, the Illawarra Business Chamber notes that businesses will still face cost pressures in meeting remaining wage costs, in addition to rent and other overheads.
 
“This package is one part of preserving our economy and the businesses that sustain it. Beyond the extension of loan deferrals for larger employers announced earlier today by the Australian Banking Association, it is critical that governments now progress arrangements for commercial leases to ensure businesses can keep operating from their existing premises.”
 
“The Chamber also looks to local government to announce measures that meet the benchmark set by the City of Newcastle; chiefly waiving fees and charges.”
 
“Local councils also have a role to play in supporting local businesses, and I have written to each of the five within our region to propose measures that include a rate holiday for commercial landlords, on the proviso that these savings are passed on to businesses,” said Mr Zarth.
 

Media contact – Adam Zarth (0404 146 829)