Richmond MP Justine Elliot with former Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
Richmond MP Justine Elliot with former Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

MP slams government support for business assistance package

RICHMOND MP Justine Elliot has slammed the Government's support for business assistance package, saying North Coast residents along with millions of Australians are being left behind.

"The coronavirus crisis has meant many small businesses have seen massive declines in their trade and many locals have lost their jobs," Ms Elliot said.

"I know many locals are having a lot of trouble getting through on the phone and online."

After speaking to many small business owners Ms Elliot said it was clear they wanted to keep their businesses viable and their staff employed.

"While we've supported the Morrison government's economic measures, we are concerned its response lacks urgency, leaves gaps in support and does not go far enough to protect small businesses," she said.

"One of the major issues is that cash flow assistance and wage subsidies to businesses will arrive too late.

"In particular, many small business owners are worried about the long delay in registering for JobKeeper assistance and then waiting to actually receive payments. The Government must urgently address this delay to assist local business owners and workers.

"The wage subsidy (JobKeeper payment) has will help many Australians and businesses but millions of people will still miss out.

"Labor will keep fighting to extend JobKeeper payments to the millions of Australians who are being left behind - casuals, freelancers, temporary migrants, NDIS workers, local government employees, and many charity workers, teachers, university staff and childcare workers.

"I would strongly encourage any local business that needs assistance to contact me."

Minister Housing and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the government was providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not for-profits, including charities that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.

"The payments are tax free, there will be no new forms and payments will flow automatically through the ATO and available from April 28," Mr Sukkar said.

"These payments will help businesses' and not-for-profits' cash flow so they can keep operating, pay their rent, electricity and other bills and retain staff.

"In addition, the Government is providing a $1500 per fortnight JobKeeper wage guarantee for six million Australians to keep them connected to their workplace.

"Importantly, one of the principles learnt from the mistakes in the response to the Global Financial crisis is it is far better to use existing distribution mechanisms to ensure support payments are delivered as quickly and as efficiently as possible."

Businesses impacted by coronavirus visit www.business.gov.au/ or phone the business hotline on 13 28 46.

Contact Ms Elliot's office on 07 55 234 371 or email justine.elliot.mp@aph.gov.au.


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