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Latest lockdown pushing even sustainable businesses to their limit

Queensland businesses owners who have worked to secure their businesses’ financial sustainability will not be able to recover from the state’s latest lockdown if they are not given timely cash injections. 

It’s an alarm on behalf of businesses across the state who have created sustainable businesses models which meant until the fourth lockdown this year, were independent in their ability to maintain their business operations and staff. 

Businesses are telling Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) the latest lockdown and the impact it’s had on businesses and consumer confidence has pushed their books below  break even, some for the first time since COVID restrictions began. 

They’re joining CCIQ in calls for a commitment to a timely support package which would allow businesses to pay ongoing bills and overheads during a lockdown, maintain their commitment to staff and secure long-term confidence in their ability to get back to business. 

CCIQ Policy and Advocacy General Manager Amanda Rohan said businesses’ concerns were taken to government to ensure an efficient and effective package of support could be delivered which meant businesses’ immediate and long-term recovery needs. 

“For months we’ve been speaking the State Government and sharing with them the voices of the Queensland business community who are telling us if they don’t have access to timely support, they’ll likely not survive this lockdown,” Ms Rohan said. 

“We acknowledge the $5,000 payments provide some relief, but there is still work to do to ensure business and consumer confidence can be restored and the economy is able to get back to businesses as soon as possible after a lockdown. 

“Businesses are also desperate for some certainty around lockdown and restriction decision making so they can have some resources to use when they’re making decisions about this business, both in the short term during a lockdown but also in the long term when they’re planning their recovery.” 

Brisbane business owner Maria Anderson has been committed to creating a sustainable business model for Sustainable Marketing Services for the past 13 years. 

She says the ecoBiz model included a triple bottom line focus on financial sustainability, sustainable profits for clients and contributing to the community. 

Ms Anderson said until the most recent lockdown, it also meant the business was able to support itself independently despite running at a 50% loss. 

“We’re floating our business by contributing our own funds. We are below break even and I can’t fall any lower than I am.  It’s absolutely destroying businesses,” Ms Anderson said. 

“Many professional services have suffered losses of up to 50% since the beginning of COVID and each lockdown keeps dragging that out further, it impacts confidence and we will continue to suffer losses for six months after a lockdown. 

“We are trying to be financially self sustainable, that’s what our business is about.” 

Ms Anderson said with every lockdown, businesses and consumers lost confidence and it put pressure on her ability to cover overheads including paying staff wages.  

“It makes it very difficult for these business to meet their superannuation and tax obligations and keep their staff but businesses are trying to do the right thing,” she said. 

Businesses need to be provided with more financial support so they can pay mortgages and meet their basic obligations, we’re not talking about frivolous things.   

“We don’t often ask for much, we try to be self sufficient but these lockdowns are beyond our control now. 

“We’ll take what we can but the reality is every time there is a lockdown, losses are significant. 

“COVID has dragged on too long and businesses are up against the wall. Cash injections are the only one way business to business companies will survive because they have no cash left.” 

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