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Ombudsman welcomes support for small businesses in lockdown

The Australian Government has this week announced addition support to small and family businesses affected by the current lockdown in NSW, a move that is welcomed by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson.

The payments will be reportedly co-funded by the Federal and NSW Governments and will be administered by Services NSW.

From week four of the lockdown, the breakdown of the payments is said to be as follows:

  • 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) as long as staffing levels are maintained.
  • Sole traders who have experienced a 30% fall in revenue will receive $1000 per week.

“Extended lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions have been devastating for many Australian small and family businesses,” says Mr Billson.

“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.”

Mr Billson says that knowing what government support can be counted on allows small and family businesses “greater opportunity to plan and navigate their business through the difficult period”.

While banks have provided support through the “re-activation of measures to help with loan repayments”, Mr Billson adds that it is also important that “other service providers and suppliers, such as landlords and utility companies” also support small and family businesses throughout the mandatory lockdown period.

“There is no doubt that lockdowns and trading restrictions put small and family businesses under enormous pressure,” says Mr Billson.

“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,” he says.