Small business let down with delays in business hardship scheme


Despite repeated questions in Estimates hearings this morning, Chief Minister Andrew Barr has refused to assure Canberrans that the COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme would kick off this month as promised.

The $280 million scheme, which was meant to open this month, is designed to provide credits of up to $10,000 for payroll tax and utilities but small businesses smashed during lockdown have no idea when it will open or when support will be provided.

Shadow Business Minister Leanne Castley said the delays showed the government’s incompetence.

“After more than two months of struggling through a hard lockdown, this scheme is meant to provide vital relief to small businesses, but the Labor-Greens Government has no urgency to deliver it on time,” Ms Castley said.

“At this rate businesses don’t know when the support will come.

“The ACT business website has said for over a month that details about the scheme will be ‘available in the coming weeks but the Labor-Greens Government refuse to give any certainty to Canberra businesses.

“The Chief Minister must release a timeline and give certainty to business,” Ms Castley concluded.