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22 March 2020

Latest COVID-19 package a lifeline to small businesses: Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed the federal government’s latest support measures designed to see small businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.

The economic support package includes:

  • Support for households including casuals, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support
  • Assistance for businesses to keep people in a job
  • Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

“The federal government has listened to the feedback we have provided and responded to the needs of small and family businesses accordingly,” Ms Carnell says.

“In particular, we support the measures extended to sole traders, which make up more than 60% of Australia’s business community.

“Importantly, sole traders who experience a significant loss of income, will be eligible for the Coronavirus supplement and jobseeker payment which will assist them to continue working for the next 6 months.

“The government is providing small and medium sized businesses that employ people with up to $100,000 (minimum payment of $20,000) to assist with outgoings so they can keep their doors open for as long as possible.

“People experiencing financial hardship can now access up to $10,000 of their superannuation this financial year and an extra $10,000 the year after without paying tax.

“The creation of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will help businesses gain access to the working capital they need.

“We support the government’s pledge to guarantee 50% of new loans issued by approved lenders.

“Ultimately, this package gives small and family businesses some breathing space until circumstances return to normal, which will play a critical role in their survival and the ability for our economy to bounce back.”