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14 July 2021

Ombudsman welcomes support for small businesses in lockdown

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has welcomed the additional support to small businesses impacted by protracted lockdowns, announced by the Australian Government.

From week four of the lockdown, small and family businesses that have suffered a 30% decline in turnover, will receive 40% of their payroll payments (between $1500 and $10,000 per week) so long as staffing levels are maintained.

Sole traders who have experienced a 30% fall in revenue will receive $1,000 per week.

The payments are co-funded by the Federal and NSW Governments and will be administered by Service NSW.

“Extended lockdowns and COVID restrictions have been devastating for many Australian small and family businesses,” Mr Billson says.

“This latest Commonwealth commitment is in line with our calls for a clear national framework that identifies what support will be available as lockdowns and restrictions are introduced.

“Small and family businesses that have an understanding of what government support can be counted on when public health measures come into effect, are given a greater opportunity to plan and navigate their business through the difficult period.

“Of course the small business community needs support from the private sector as well and the banks have led with the re-activation of measures to help small businesses with loan repayments.

“It is critical that other service providers and suppliers, such as landlords and utility companies, follow suit.

“Unfortunately there has been a worrying deterioration in payment times over recent months. Now is not the time to delay paying small business supplier invoices when cash flow is essential to their survival and recovery.

“There is no doubt that lockdowns and trading restrictions put small and family businesses under enormous pressure.

“It is vital small business owners know that help is available if they need it. We welcome the Australian Government’s commitment to provide an additional $17 million in funding to crucial mental health support services.

“I encourage those in small and family businesses who are struggling to cope, to reach out by visiting our My Business Health web portal or registering for Beyond Blue’s New Access for Small Business Owners program.”