Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Biz support

. . . but are the grants too little, too late?

- By LAURA GREEN

A raft of business support measures have been announced in NSW, but there’s no word yet on whether border businesses ‘‘slammed’’ by both NSW and Victorian COVID restrictio­ns will be eligible for extra.

The NSW Government announced the $3.9 billion injection to the state’s economy with $1.5 billion coming from the Commonweal­th.

The state government said the additional funding will ‘‘extend the successful JobSaver program and Micro-business Grant, and continue rent relief incentives’’ across the state.

When questioned by the DENILIQUIN PASTORAL TIMES, treasurer Dominic Perrottet acknowledg­ed the need for continued financial support for individual­s and businesses who have lost work due to lockdowns, regardless of the severity of their lockdown restrictio­ns.

‘‘Obviously we’re still in a situation where areas right across the state are affected, but also very conscious of the fact that when a hotspot definition is lifted, there will need to be ongoing financial support,’’ Mr Perrottet said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Victorian Government has provided ‘‘very little informatio­n” about the reason for Edward River and Broken Hill being removed from the border bubble earlier this month, which has limited the state government’s ability to make decisions on the border.

While neither minister committed to border-specific support packages, Mr Perrottet’s commitment to continuing payments to impacted businesses despite their level of restrictio­n is a good sign for the Riverina.

A spokespers­on for Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said the packages are likely to continue for eligible small to medium businesses ‘‘suffering from a 30 per cent plus decline in turnover until at least October 18’’.

‘‘Following this, the New South Wales Treasurer has only indicated they are forming plans for a COVID recovery package, with added emphasis on the tourism and hospitalit­y sector,’’ the spokespers­on said.

Deni Golf Resort owner Iain Goodway says the payments he has finally been able to access are ‘‘not enough’’.

He said opening up without Edward River being returned to the border bubble would ‘‘leave us in the same situation’’, because the majority of his regional customers come from Victoria.

Mr Goodway says he has been forced to ‘‘dig very, very deep’’ into his savings to keep the resort open in the year he has owned it.

He was repeatedly refused grants until just a few weeks ago.

‘‘It was funny because I look every few days on the Services New South Wales website where you apply and they said ‘waiting, waiting’ and one day I looked and it said ‘approved’.

‘‘It was just a few days and it was in my account,’’ he said.

But the grant does not allow Mr Goodway to recoup the savings he has sacrificed.

He’s been able to pay plumbers and electricia­ns who have serviced the resort, saying it was only just enough to keep the resort afloat.

‘‘If I hadn’t received this money, I think we would have been in a lot of trouble,’’ Mr Goodway said.

Jobsaver is designed for eligible larger businesses, tourism businesses, and not-for-profits. It provides a weekly payroll payment up to 40 per cent if a business continues to experience a 30 per cent turnover decline, or a weekly 40 per cent payroll payment for NFPs which have lost 15 per cent of their turnover.

Micro-business grants are available to businesses with a usual turnover of $30,000 to $75,000 and which continue to experience a 30 per cent decline in turnover. The grant is $1500 a fortnight.

Payroll tax deferrals will now be available to businesses up to 50 per cent of their tax, while landlords will be eligible for monthly grants up to $3000, a land tax relief of $1500, or assistance for lost rent up to $4500.

More than 300,000 business grants have resulted in a $3.3 billion injection into NSW’s economy, however many businesses in Deniliquin report being knocked back, despite losing a majority of their earnings.

A new hardship panel will assess businesses that do not qualify for COVID-19 grants, on a case-by-case basis.

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