Daniel Andrews’ extension of metropolitan Melbourne’s stage four lockdown, and the reopening roadmap unveiled last weekend, mean many businesses won’t be able to trade as normal until the end of November.
And that’s in a best-case scenario.
Since Sunday’s announcement, there have been more and more calls to extend the financial support available to affected businesses, including doubling the grant funding available and relaxing eligibility criteria to support those that have fallen through the cracks…
Fiona Patten, MP for Northern Metropolitan and leader of the Reason Party, yesterday called on the Victorian government to double its Business Support Fund, to support businesses that are “on the brink of closing their doors”.
Announced at the beginning of Melbourne’s second coronavirus wave, the fund offered $10,000 grants to businesses affected by Victoria’s strict stage four lockdowns.
Now, Patten wants to see that doubled to $20,000, as well as an extension of the application deadline, and the opportunity for business owners who have received funding previously to re-apply.
In a statement, Patten said she broadly supports the Premier’s roadmap.
“I know that there are many in the business community who are suffering right now and that the slow approach to the opening up of the Victorian economy is not what many sectors wanted to hear,” she said in a statement.
“But we must tackle the health crisis to the ground before we can tackle the economic one.
“The alternative, where business opens up too quickly, only to be forced back into extended, sporadic periods of lockdowns, would be even worse.”
However, she called for “urgent and generous business grants” to come into effect immediately, and for a streamlined application process to get funding to businesses as quickly as possible.
“I back a plan where we can defeat COVID-19, but not an approach that strangles businesses at the same time,” she said.
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