The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says while small businesses are relieved the state-wide lockdown is lifting, the Victorian Government is still yet to announce any support measures for the sector.
“It is fantastic news that small businesses can open their doors again tomorrow, however I am disappointed the Victorian Government has not yet announced what it will do to support the thousands of small businesses forced to shut up shop for five days with next to no notice,” Ms Carnell says.
“The Victorian Government needs to urgently compensate small businesses impacted by this snap lockdown, such as florists and restaurants that had their storage rooms packed with supplies ahead of Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year celebrations.
“Many Victorian small businesses are understandably shattered by the latest sudden lockdown, given they were expecting their busiest weekend of trade in months. Many restaurants were fully-booked all weekend and were not given time to cancel the delivery of their additional supplies.
“It’s for this reason the Victorian Government needs to immediately announce a compensation package for affected small businesses who have lost stock such as perishable food and fresh flowers.
“The compensation should also cover all other costs associated with running a business including staff wages and rent.
“We know a lot of small businesses have lost thousands of dollars worth of stock through no fault of their own.
“It is unreasonable to expect these small businesses to shoulder the cost of this snap lockdown, given the nightmarish 12 months these cash-strapped small businesses have already been through.
“It’s absolutely critical these small businesses have the support and certainty they need from the Victorian Government to recover from this.”