Shadow Minister for Small Business, Marie-Clare Boothby, says the Gunner Labor Government must reinstate two key business support packages to urgently save Territory small business.
The Opposition has joined industry calls to reinstate funding and believes that two previous programs – The Small Business Survival Fund and the Business Hardship Package – which were first unveiled in 2020 at the start of the global pandemic – provide the right platform to support small businesses who have lost significant trade due to COVID restrictions.
“These packages were put in place to assist many small businesses in 2020 who experienced a serious downturn and can be stood up quickly. Michael Gunner just needs to give the order and turn them back on.
“The reality is now that businesses are doing it tougher than at any time during this pandemic and there are several options within the packages to assist.
“Territory businesses, in particular the hospitality and tourism sector, have been crippled by COVID and every day that support is withheld is a day closer to that business shutting its doors forever.
“We have heard consistent stories over the past week from individual businesses in the hospitality sector right across the Territory that are all telling the same story – they’re all experiencing significant downturns of at least 50-70% that haven’t been experienced at any time during the pandemic – and Government is ignoring their pleas for help.
“The Gunner Government has had more than two years to plan for COVID and establish solid support for business to assist with the Territory’s economic recovery. Yet, our small businesses are bearing the brunt of Labor’s failure to plan and the continued uncertainty as Michael Gunner continues to change the goalposts on COVID restrictions and compliance – without consultation with industry.
“There’s already been more changes to CHO Directions this year (35) than there are days on the calendar – this is ultimately creating ongoing confusion amongst both industry and the community which forms part of the impact being felt. “The MyDarwin and MyAlice vouchers are a good start, but more needs to be done. It’s time for the Government to reinstate critical small business support packages now – it should have been done last week,” said Ms Boothby.