As region’s businesses suffer Dan employs more than PM
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As region’s businesses suffer Dan employs more than PM

The confirmation this week that Premier Daniel Andrews is employing more staff than the Prime Minister is a hard one to stomach.
Over the past year, I have been approached on a regular basis by East Gippsland business owners who have undergone enormous hardship and who have not qualified for any State Government supports due to the grant criteria being too strict.
And while these local businesses and our tourism and hospitality sectors continue to struggle to recover from Labor’s unnecessary COVID shutdowns, without support, it has been confirmed the number of ministerial staffers has ballooned to 286 - 86 of them reporting directly to the Premier’s private office. By comparison, the Prime Minister has 51.
I use the term “unnecessary shutdowns” as all other states managed well by shutting down hot spot areas with strict rules to stop travel and allowed other areas of their states to function.
In Victoria, because of small outbreaks in western and northern metro suburbs, we shut down businesses as far as Omeo and Mallacoota.
It makes me angry that while the Premier is happy to splash cash on his own staff with seemingly no budget, local businesses in my region get told they cannot get badly needed help because of pedantic criteria.
In December, a public hearing of Victoria’s Parliamentary Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) uncovered that only $12m (12%) of the $100million sole trader support fund had been handed out.
This was a case of the Government announcing a $100m fund six months prior and then setting the criteria so tight that only $12m could be distributed while thousands of businesses missed out.
You can’t announce a figure then set the criteria so tight only a very small percentage are eligible, and a fraction is distributed. It is very misleading to business owners.
The full analysis presented to PAEC showed:
• Of the 20 Business Support Programs presented by the Government, 14 (70%) of them were unable to provide any details of how much money was actually given out to support businesses.
• Of the six packages that were reported on by the government, less than half the promoted value of the package was actually distributed.
• Incredibly, half of the six packages had distributed 12% or less of the value of the packages.
• Only 4000 of the approximately 400,000 Victorian sole traders were eligible for support.
So, while our local businesses suffered the longest and most severe lockdown restrictions imposed – on the back of last year’s fires, and were told there is no help available – our Premier’s number of staffers to provide advice to him grew to almost double that of the Prime Minister.
That is not fair.