Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Small Business Dr Steve Thomas says that whilst he welcomes the Premier’s announcement yesterday of yet another small business support package, the support package is once again too slow, too hard to
understand, and too limited.

“In the latest announcement of $72 million, most of the money – $67 million – is only available to companies that can prove a monthly 50% downturn between January 1st and April 30th versus the same time last year,” said Dr Thomas.

“Given that last year the Government instigated shutdowns in February and April 2020, and borders were already closed, many businesses were significantly down on their normal turnover in that period of time.

“The general COVID uncertainty meant many businesses, especially those in the events industry, were struggling to survive.

“In February last year the Perth Fringe World Festival cancelled five nights of events during the week-long lock down period instigated across Perth Peel and the South West.

It will be pretty hard for events companies involved to demonstrate a 50% reduction from that point.

“Other events were cancelled or scaled back.

“The latest package requires a 50% reduction of turnover from what for many businesses was barely breaking even, and it once again shows that the Premier has no understanding of the business community,” said Dr Thomas.

“And once again the business community will have to wait for weeks or months after the restrictions hit to even find out if they qualify and what level of compensation will apply.

“Those grants announced yesterday that do specify an opening date for application have a date that is a minimum of a month away. There is no immediacy or urgency in the delivery of grants, and opaque criteria is a major impediment.

“For most of the existing packages we are still waiting for the details so businesses can apply.

“I fear some businesses will be gone before they can access the Government’s token and piecemeal support packages.

“Business needs advance notice of the rules, especially when McGowan keeps changing the rules every week, and business needs to know in advance how they will be supported (or not).

“Constantly changing the rules makes it harder for business to manage or survive, and the lack of notice or warning is damaging, especially to small businesses who have limited capacity to adapt.

“Support packages that are hard to understand, difficult to apply for, and apply all but impossible thresholds just add to the stress and uncertainty.

“The business community has been crying out for both certainty and consistency, but the McGowan Government’s drip feeding of minor announcements at their own whim is the opposite of that.

“A Government with more than $15 billion in surpluses can afford to adequately support its business community; no jurisdiction in the country has more capacity to assist!”