The Hunter Business Chamber has supported calls by Business NSW and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) for government subsidies to businesses in targeted industry sectors to continue after JobKeeper winds up in March.
“We support ACCI’s call to introduce a new program of wage subsidy support for businesses heavily affected by government restrictions, such as those in the travel, tourism, hospitality and international education sectors,” Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“In our most recent Business Conditions Survey conducted across NSW, 23 per cent of businesses believed they were at a high risk of failure when supports such as JobKeeper, tax relief, interest waivers and other measures end.
“This vulnerability will hang over the small business sector for much of the year and will need to be factored into decisions around when and how these measures are withdrawn.”
The Chamber’s affiliate organisation Business NSW has asked the Federal Government to provide a new program of wage support for businesses affected by ongoing government restrictions in its annual Pre-Budget submission to Treasury, arguing that the government needs to provide a clear pathway for business recovery.
Aimed at preserving future jobs and skills, the wage subsidy would:
• be set at $450 per week per employee if business turnover is down by over one third or $700 per week per employee if business turnover is down over two thirds, relative to the same quarter in 2019;
• be tested quarterly to confirm eligibility;
• be available to those employed on or before 1 January 2021; and,
• retain the industrial relations flexibilities of the JobKeeper payment.
“Last year’s delayed Budget was understandably about providing economy-wide support for industry, but this year has to be about accelerating the path to the new normal”, Mr Hawes said.
“This vulnerability will hang over the small business sector for much of the year and will need to be factored into decisions around when and how these measures are withdrawn.
“Many businesses are finding it impossible to plan past March. The new package must provide longer-term certainty for businesses to plan for as long as restrictions are in place.