The Victorian government announced an additional $3 billion in cash grants and tax relief for businesses earlier this week. In addition, it also revealed grants of $3,000 for sole traders across the state.
The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) called the sole traders stimulus “a welcome first step”. However, it also acknowledged that more is needed, considering there are significantly more sole traders in Victoria who will miss out.
“We’re hearing a lot of disappointment from our members and there will be many self-employed people who will feel let down by this. 33,000 is only a portion of the 400,000 sole traders in Victoria,” said COSBOA chief executive Peter Strong.
“The $3,000 grants will help those eligible businesses, but they are just drops from a watering can when it needs to rain. $3,000 doesn’t solve the problems that most businesses face right now with back rent and other business expenses including utilities and servicing loans for equipment.”
Mr Strong said there are around 1.4 million sole traders in Australia and that, along with employing small businesses, they are also part of the backbone of the economy and their local communities.
“If the sole traders who wished to grow their business and employ just one more person had the resources to do so, we could make some serious headway in solving the unemployment crisis,” he said.
Similarly, the Australian Industry Group described the government’s business stimulus as “just a beginning” of what will be needed by Victorian businesses as a result of the pandemic’s crippling economic cost.
Australian Industry Group Victorian head Tim Piper said business will need significantly more help to get going again. Further, he was extremely disappointed that the Victorian government has only deferred payroll tax.
“It means this debt will continue to hang over businesses which may not have recovered enough by the time they need to repay the government,” Mr Piper said.
“This should have been a waiving of payroll tax offered to businesses across the board. It would provide a much-needed injection of confidence when they are looking to reinvigorate their businesses.
“However, this is an important package and there are real positives being offered, including grants for small businesses, for the ski fields, export initiatives and digital support. Ai Group also welcomes the deferral of the increase in the state’s landfill levy as a sensible policy decision.”