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SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS CASH SUPPORT NOW

The results of the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (GCCI) Covid-19 Business Survey have revealed that in order to ensure the survival of our local small business, cash support is needed immediately.

GCCI President, Joe Smith, said the survey, completed by business owners in the Gladstone Region, provided very clear results, with businesses struggling due to the wait time for cash support from stimulus measures.

The survey revealed that 65% of businesses who responded have so far either closed their doors or have had to restrict their trading, with some businesses adapting and working within the constraints where they can. Though, the most sobering statistic was that 40% of respondents did not believe they would be solvent at 30 June 2020.

63% of businesses have laid off staff or reduced hours, however, this statistic may change due to the recently announced JobKeeper stimulus package if employers decide to re-engage some employees. At the time of the survey, 40% of businesses were planning more layoffs or reduced hours going forward.

“We welcome the stimulus packages all levels of government have offered, however, the cash isn’t getting to businesses quickly enough,” Joe said. “With the Cashflow Boost stimulus not arriving until the 28th of April at the earliest, it will not be a direct cash payment for most businesses. The benefit most businesses will receive will be a reduction in the amount they are to pay for their BAS.”

“As the 1st May is the earliest date for the JobKeeper stimulus payments to be received, Chamber is extremely concerned for businesses being paid one month in arrears going forward as they are required to find this cash each week to pay $750 per week to eligible employees – and for some casual and part time employees this is significantly more than the regular wages they are paid.” Joe added “Although the government has given a guarantee to take to the bank, there is a back log of applications for lending with banks as well as for the Queensland Government loans package for businesses. GCCI are seeking a weekly or fortnightly payment to businesses under the JobKeeper package to ease the cash flow burden on them.”

Results from the survey indicated that businesses are looking for more financial assistance to help with issues such as rent, bills and ongoing human resource problems.

“The Payroll tax refunds are also welcomed however they are not applicable to most small businesses.”

Another major problem that was highlighted was that businesses were struggling to understand the stimulus’ available and clearer guidance on the whole situation is extremely necessary.

Local businesses also called out for a greater commitment from the Gladstone community to help and offer support during these unprecedented times.

Chamber is currently running the Buy Local Gladstone Campaign to highlight the need to shop local and support small businesses where possible.

“We need to keep getting the Buy Local message out there so we, as a community, can also offer our support for these businesses.”

MEDIA INFORMATION: For further information contact GCCI on 0448 333 121 or email mail@gcci.com.au

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