• Tony Bosworth

Small businesses in Hawkesbury need federal financial support during lockdown now – MP Templeman

Small businesses in lockdown across the Hawkesbury have been abandoned by the Morrison Government, with no federal financial support for business owners whose incomes have disappeared, Macquarie MP Susan Templeman has said.

There is up to $10,000 available to businesses if there is a turnover reduction of 75% in a business with up to 20 full-time employees.

That is State money and will not be available until July 19, some 10 days after the lockdown has – hopefully - ended.

“The lockdown affecting half of the country is a direct consequence of the Morrison Government’s failures on both quarantine and vaccination, and businesses in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury already feeling the pinch from bushfires, floods and 12 months of the pandemic are now being ignored,” Ms Templeman said.

“Right now there’s limited support for individuals, who can receive up to $500 a week if they are eligible through the Commonwealth support, but only if they’re in a nationally-recognised hotspot for more than seven days and can’t work.

“There is no direct business support from the Morrison Government, and the NSW grant won’t help a number of businesses get through this latest lockdown.

“I’ve spoken to local businesses owners who are desperately worried about what’s going to happen, both larger and small.

“People like Nick and Linda in the Hawkesbury who each run established businesses, employing a large number of people, say the $10,000 doesn’t help pay wages for their staff, nor does it make up for the big order Nick had put in to prepare for the holiday crowds.

“Employers tell me that more skilled hospitality people are being stood down and will find work elsewhere, their skills lost to the tourism sector.

“But then there are the businesses who miss out on the grant. People like Talia, who has owned her dance fitness business for almost eight years. She doesn’t qualify for the NSW business grant despite losing 95 per cent of her work while in lockdown, and she has a family to support.

“The current support isn’t a fix for many businesses and I know, as someone who started a business with a baby, it's going to be women who miss out here. We're the ones who juggle working and kids, and so our businesses often sit at a certain turnover level for many years.

“Unfortunately, while that turnover is vital to the household income, it’s often not considered high enough to warrant support if it suddenly disappears. And where does that leave the family it helped support?

“There is a real lack of appreciation of what small businesses have been going through during COVID, and in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury, during fire and floods.

“The Morrison Government had two jobs this year; a fast, effective rollout of the vaccine, and to get quarantine right.

“They have monumentally failed both, and it’s our small businesses that are paying the heaviest price.”

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