The Andrews Labor Government’s latest round of business supports – released after the most recent lock down period – again have criteria so strict, they rule out the majority of East Gippsland companies.
Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull said an estimated four in five businesses were not eligible for the earlier support package.
“The Government announces these support packages with great fanfare and pats itself on the back, but then sets the criteria so tight, most are not eligible.
“One of many such cases is Annette Towns, who owns a small business in Orbost called FB Dicken & Son, which she has owned for 14 years.
“She was forced to close over the latest lockdown at great cost, but on applying for the $2,000 support, was advised she was not eligible.”
Mr Bull said this was just one of many enterprises that was forced to close, but cannot access the relief fund.
“They lock you down in the country for no good reason, cut off your income and make you ineligible for the support payment.
“It comes on the back of revelations in December that the previous $100m business grant scheme had only distributed $12m (12%) despite it being operational for several months.
“This was caused by what we are again facing now – a grand announcement but then a criteria so strict, it rules the majority out and the money is saved in the government coffers.
“What I have done is asked the Government to reconsider this overly strict criteria.
“These are enterprises that have done it tough for some time now, after drought and fires in the region, COVID was the last straw.
“The Government cannot close them down, self-congratulate itself on a support program, but then rule 80% out. That’s just mischievous.”
Caption: Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull with Annette Towns, owner of FB Dicken & Son, whose business was ineligible for State Government funding following last months lockdown.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021