Lockdown support for Queensland businesses

Cameron Dick

The Queensland Government will provide $5,000 payments to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown and lockdowns in other states.

Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said the $260 million 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant program would help small businesses through the current three-day lockdown.

“We know Queensland’s health response to COVID-19 has put us in the best possible position to recover from the pandemic, with nation-leading economic, jobs and retail sales growth,” the Treasurer said.

“But the lesson we have learned from COVID-19 is that we must always act fast and decisively.

“That’s why we were the first jurisdiction to declare a public health emergency and the first jurisdiction to announce business support measures for affected businesses, including tourism businesses.

“To date, Queensland’s economy has recovered quickly from short sharp lockdowns, but we have seen the damage the delta strain is causing in other jurisdictions.

“Until now, our lockdowns have been months apart, which has given businesses time to recover.

“But we understand two lockdowns within a month presents a new challenge, which is why I am announcing this package today.

2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants of $5,000 will be available to eligible small and medium businesses across all industries across the state.

“We’ll also be providing support payments to eligible impacted large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector in the 11 local government areas currently locked down.

“While government cannot fully compensate businesses for the impact of necessary lockdowns, these payments will provide cashflow support for businesses to help them adapt to evolving circumstances.

“This $5,000 payment is higher than most other states, recognising the short interval between lockdowns in South East Queensland, and the unique circumstances faced by regional economies who are impacted by multiple border closures.

“I welcome the Federal Government’s declaration of a hotspot in the 11 local government areas and the assistance to individuals that declaration makes available.

“I’m also calling on all councils in the 11 affected local government areas, and across other impacted parts of Queenslanders, to implement their own assistance measures for affected businesses.

”This could include Councils contributing to supporting business cash flows and viability through the waiving of rates, fees and charges paid by small businesses, or by providing a co-contribution towards the Queensland Government’s business support grant program.”

Minister for Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said that she knew how challenging the global pandemic had been for small business.

“We are living through some incredibly challenging times, and I want to acknowledge and thank small businesses for all they have done,” Minister Farmer said.

“Small businesses are our friends and neighbours, they are the lifeblood of our communities. That’s why we put backing small business at the heart of our $14.2 billion COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“The best thing we can do for small business is to go early with short sharp lockdowns, and then get them open and trading again as soon as possible.

“We’ve done this before and our hope is that we do it again.

“But we know having two lockdowns so close together is especially difficult.

“These $5,000 payments will help businesses both in the lockdown area and those elsewhere in the state affected by a loss of revenue.

“This is in addition to all of the other support available for small businesses including our Business Basics, Business Boost and Business Growth grant programs, our free Mentoring for Growth service, record investment in employment and training programs, online tools to make doing business easier and more.

“The Queensland Small Business Commissioner is also available to provide support and advice.

“I’d encourage all small businesses to visit www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant to make sure they’re taking full advantage of the range of support available in addition to these $5,000 payments.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said COVID-19 lockdowns had been particularly challenging for Queensland’s tourism operators.

“What I’ve been hearing from regular meetings with operators and Regional Tourism Organisations is just heartbreaking,” Minister Hinchliffe said.

“The Business Support Grants announced by the Palaszczuk Government will help provide immediate relief for small to medium tourism operators and are in addition the Government’s $860 million in direct support for the industry’s recovery.

“We know tourism operators are hit hard not only by Queensland lockdowns, but also lockdowns interstate.

“When Sydney and other capitals go into lockdown, it means cancellations for Queensland tourism operators, often during what should be peak holiday season.

“Queenslanders have been backing our tourist operators by helping to fill interstate cancellations, but times like this only increases pressure on tourism businesses.

“The Palaszczuk Government remains committed to standing by Queensland tourism to recover from the global pandemic and to rebuild better for the future.”

The small business payments will be made through QRIDA, which successfully administered the payment of $1 billion in 12-month interest loans to COVID-affected businesses.

Applications for grants will open from mid-August.

Small and medium businesses are defined as businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum and have an annual payroll in Queensland of up to $10 million.

Large tourism hospitality businesses are defined as those entities with turnover greater than $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in turnover.