The pool of money for support grants for Queensland business hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns has more than doubled, after the state and federal governments reached a funding agreement on Friday afternoon.
- The state and federal governments will each be contributing $300 million for the package
- The grants will now be tiered and based on business size
- Amanda Rohan from Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said it was welcome news
Queensland was set to open applications for a $5,000 business support grants on Monday, which had been funded to the tune of $260 million.
That has been ramped up to $600 million, with the state and federal governments each contributing $300 million.
The grants will now be tiered and based on business size.
They will be open to businesses whose turnover has declined by more than 30 per cent.
- $5,000 one-off grants for small businesses with payroll of less than $1.3 million
- $10,000 for medium-sized businesses with payroll from $1.3 million to $10 million
- $25,000 for large tourism and hospitality businesses with payroll greater than $10 million
Non-employing sole traders will also now be eligible for $1,000 grants.
An application process for sole traders is still being developed.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the grants recognise the impacts of lockdowns across Australia.
“This package will help to keep businesses in business and Queenslanders in jobs and builds on the almost $30 billion in economic support the Morrison government has provided Queensland households and businesses during the pandemic,” he said.
‘Is it enough?’
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said the lack of international and interstate travellers was impacting Queensland, especially in tourism and hospitality industries.
“This dollar-for-dollar agreement with the federal government will see Queensland’s contribution rise to $300 million and vastly increase the scope of support available to businesses right across the state.”
Amanda Rohan from Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said it was welcome news and would go a long way to helping businesses.
“We know the state government’s support package of $5,000 hasn’t quite hit the right mark with many businesses across the state,” she said.
The CCIQ has been advocating for support for sole traders and a tiered structure based on business size for some time.
“That is in recognition of the different proportion of impacts that’s been felt across businesses,” Ms Rohan said.
“We know that many sole traders have missed out on any grant support package over the past 18 months, so I think this is in acknowledgement that there is significant impact for sole traders.
Ms Rohan said uncertainty was hitting business confidence hard, and she wanted to see the support package locked in for future lockdowns.
Daniel Gschwind from the Queensland Tourism and Industry Council said they had been urgently lobbying for more action.
“We have made a desperate plea to both governments this week for further support for our operators, given the dire situation that our industry has been placed in with continuous COVID-19 disruptions,” he said.
“This expanded program will go a lot further in giving hope and an urgent cash injection to businesses who are barely hanging on.”
The grants are available to businesses outside of lockdown areas.
‘Let’s get this money out the door’
Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said it was “about bloody time”.
“If rolling lockdowns are the new normal so too must be rolling support packages,” he said.
“I hope both levels of government can now accept how important it is that support frameworks are set up before lockdowns hit.”
“This assistance needed to be timely and targeted before the last lockdown. It wasn’t. That delay cost some Queenslanders their livelihoods.”
“Now, let’s get this money out the door and into the bank accounts of the businesses who so badly need it.”
Earlier this week, the Queensland government announced other support measurers for businesses, including a six-month deferral of payroll tax payments, and waiving and refunding other fees and charges for tourism and hospitality businesses, and liquor licensing fee waivers and refunds.