The support package for businesses and workers announced for the duration of the ongoing Greater Sydney lockdown, will provide a greater level of confidence to Illawarra businesses as they face enormous challenges and uncertainty, according to the region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra.
The package includes a range of measures that directly support both businesses and the staff that they employ, including:
- The extension of the existing NSW Business Grants package for a third lockdown week;
- Cash payments for businesses statewide with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million that can demonstrate a 30% reduction in this turnover during lockdown. The cash boost will be 40% of weekly payroll with a payment amount between $1,500 to a maximum of $10,000 per week from week four onwards, provided staffing levels are maintained;
- Fortnightly grants of $1,500 for micro businesses with turnover of between $30,000 and $75,000 that can demonstrate a 30% reduction in turnover where the business is the primary source of income;
- A payroll tax deferral this quarter for all businesses, and a waiver for this quarter if they can demonstrate a 30% reduction in turnover and they have a payroll of between $1.2 and $10 million;
- An increase to the payment amount for stood down workers from $500 to $600 per week for those who lost more than 20 hours, and to $375 for those who lost between 8 and 20 hours, and for it to be available to workers outside of Sydney lockdown areas; and
- Several provisions around residential, commercial and retail leases, including no lockouts and forced evictions, and those landlords who provide rent relief will be given land tax reduction incentives.
“Keeping businesses going and with their employees retained is all important amid the ongoing uncertainty about when the lockdowns will end in the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas,” said Business Illawarra Executive Director, Adam Zarth.
“What is crucial now is for the support money to start flowing as quickly as possible – the Government has assured business applications will open later this month with the money to be paid days after that,” Mr Zarth said.
“In our part of the world, it is important to highlight that as Wollongong and Shellharbour have been in lockdown, the impact on businesses in Kiama, the Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands has also been immense, as they’ve missed out on the strong school holiday trade, as well as a lack of forward bookings.”
“This support will give business owners the opportunity to retain their staff and give them the best chance to rebound their operations when the lockdown finishes,” Mr Zarth said.