Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips has welcomed the federal government's increase to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment but says the support is long overdue.
As part of a recently-announced government support package, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for individuals has been increased $500 to $600 for those who have lost 20 hours or more of work a week, or $325 to $375 each a week for those who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work.
"I welcome the fact that the government has finally responded and expanded the Disaster Payment to South Coast workers significantly impacted by the COVID lockdowns - that support is long overdue," said Mrs Phillips.
"However, it does not go anywhere near far enough to protect workers. Only a system like JobKeeper will truly help businesses maintain their existing employment relationships during this excruciatingly tough time."
A new business support payment will be available to entities with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million who can demonstrate a 30 per cent decline in turnover from an equivalent two-week period in 2019.
In addition, NSW businesses can seek a single payment grant of between $7,500 and $15,000 which will be made available to eligible businesses with annual wages up to $10 million. The grant was already announced prior to Tuesday's press conference but the amounts were increased as follows:
- $7,500 (increased from $5,000) for a turnover decline of 30% or more.
- $10,500 (increased from $7,000) for a turnover decline of 50% or more.
- $15,000 (increased from $10,000) for a turnover decline of 70% or more.
The federal government provided further support by making NSW small business grants tax exempt (including the new small business payments).
Mrs Phillips said she had been calling for support for Gilmore small businesses and sole traders who were hit particularly hard by the loss of holiday trade.
"I'm glad there is additional support, but as always, the devil is in the detail," said Mrs Phillips.
"It remains yet to be seen, when applications finally open with Service NSW, what businesses will actually be eligible for.
"The truth is, the Morrison government abandoned businesses and workers in lockdown in their time of need; when people were struggling to pay their rent and wages and when local tourist and hospitality businesses had no holiday trade.
"The Morrison government has finally conceded what everyone else has known for over a fortnight - that more support is desperately needed to help people from the government's own incompetence."
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the financial support "will never be enough".
"Whilst any support is welcomed, there are so many businesses that are still going to find this period challenging," said Mr Ward.
"Our businesses, particularly tourism businesses, were hoping for a bumper season.
"They don't want support payments, they want to be rid of COVID so they can run their businesses and be successful without having to rely on any of these payments."
Mrs Phillips said the lockdowns were a direct result of the failure by the Morrison government to vaccinate enough of the population and a failure to have national quarantine facilities.
"If the Morrison government had done its job with the vaccine rollout and national quarantine, lockdowns and the crippling of businesses and local jobs could have been avoided," said Mrs Phillips.
She encouraged businesses that were significantly impacted by the COVID lockdowns to register their interest for support via the Service NSW website.
"I also encourage any businesses that are not able to access the support they need, to contact my office directly," said Mrs Phillips.
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