Business welcomes expanded support to ease pressure

Business Council of Australia

Targeted and expanded financial payments for people and businesses in the hardest hit parts of greater Sydney is welcome relief that will help keep people going, Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“It’s good to see the New South Wales and federal governments working closely together to ease the financial pressure on people and businesses who are doing it tough.

“We also appreciate the NSW Premier’s decision to outline the next four weeks of restrictions, providing much-needed certainty for businesses and the people of greater Sydney.

“Today’s financial package for the nation’s biggest state economy in NSW picks up the principles we have been arguing for – that financial assistance is targeted, adequate, expanded and timely for both individuals and businesses.

“Lifting the business turnover threshold to $250 million with maximum payments of $100,000 will help protect jobs and help businesses bounce back. We thank the Berejiklian and Morrison governments for their continued willingness to adapt to changing circumstances throughout the pandemic.

“The increased levels of assistance for workers and income support recipients will help people through this challenging time. We’re really pleased to see the disaster payment move to $1,500 a fortnight and additional support for people on JobSeeker.

“People as well as businesses have got to be able to bounce back.

“We welcome this becoming the model for future COVID assistance and it is good to see the additional support in Victoria, shared between the federal and Victorian governments.

“The inclusion of three new local government areas in greater Sydney’s now eight LGAs of concerns will have a significant impact on many workers and industries that keep the state running.

“More than one-third of workers in greater Sydney, and particularly one-third of the construction workforce, will now be caught up in these restrictions. There is no doubt the extended lockdown will hurt the NSW and national economy.

“We will need to continue to finetune the definition of authorised workers while managing the health risk. We know that this government is responsible and pragmatic whilst maintaining the health of the population.

“The Delta strain is a gamechanger and it is more important than ever that we have a pragmatic and smarter approach to managing the virus and restrictions, higher vaccination take-up rates and an exit plan.

“This will help us maximise economic activity as we get the health situation under control.

“The return of construction in non-occupied settings from Saturday outside the eight LGAs will help put a floor under the industry. The NSW construction sector is a vital part of the state’s economy with a ripple effect through the entire national economy.

“We must as fast as possible find a safe way back to the full operation of the construction sector.

“We thank the Berejiklian government for its continued consultative approach and working through issues with business.

“Business will always put the health and safety of workers at the forefront and COVIDSafe plans are part of this. We will work with the government to ensure we are meeting all the requirements.

“Business stands ready to work with the NSW and federal governments to get NSW going again and chart an exit path.”

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