Speaking to media on Thursday, 10 September, Premier Dan Andrews refused to give a specific date for the much-anticipated announcement. Asked whether it would be made in days or weeks, the Premier responded with “soon”.
“There is no questions that there are some very significant costs associated with this global pandemic, whether it be in our capital city or in the smallest of country towns in our state,” Mr Andrews said.
“The real challenge here is to get the numbers down, open up and stay open, and begin what’s going to be the biggest repair job that our state and our nation has ever seen.”
Business lobby groups have been very vocal in their disapproval of Premier Andrews’ plan to reopen Victoria, which foresees another seven weeks in hard lockdown for businesses that have already been closed for months.
This, coupled with the scaling back of government measures such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker, is expected to commit thousands of businesses to bankruptcy.
A Roy Morgan survey, released on Thursday, revealed that a large majority (76 per cent) of Victorians believed that the state government should provide compensation to all small businesses forced to close by the COVID restrictions - only 24 per cent said they should not.
Asked "Do you agree all small businesses forced to close by the Victorian Government’s COVID restrictions should receive compensation from the Victorian Government or not?", of the 2,325 Victorians surveyed, 76 per cent answered with "yes".
Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, the CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, Paul Zahra, said that there are signs of the emergence of a two-tiered or two-speed economy — those recovering and those continuing to suffer.
“It is very concerning to imagine what will happen when the effect of these support measures wears off,” Mr Zahra said.
Late last month, Damian Scattini, a partner at Sydney-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, confirmed for MyBusiness that the Victorian government was served with an open class action lawsuit on 21 August, on behalf of businesses pole-axed by the second lockdown.
“These businesses, many of them mum and dad operations, need help now. As things stand, there is no plan for them,” Mr Scattini told MyBusiness.
“The class action provides a path to compensation for losses that were beyond their control and not brought about by them.”
Mr Scattini is previously known for successfully winning a case against the Queensland government following the 2011 floods.
The compensation bill in that case was estimated to be as high as $1 billion.