Financial support needed for businesses harmed by lockdowns
• Businesses cannot continue to absorb lockdown losses.
• Severely impacted businesses need financial support to survive lockdowns.
• Federal, state and territory governments must work together to deliver a national response.
• Financial support should be standardised, scaleable, targeted and rapidly deployed.
Future lockdowns are foreseeable as we continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses cannot continue to absorb losses created by snap lockdowns and border closures. Federal, state and territory governments must work together to provide financial support to businesses severely impacted by lockdowns.
CPA Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Hunter said, “Most Australian states have implemented at least one snap lockdown. Each time, many businesses have experienced significant, unrecoverable losses.
“We’ve been living with COVID-19 for more than a year now. JobKeeper ends next month and we still don’t have a substitute for businesses that are compulsorily closed or those otherwise impacted by lockdowns, such as suppliers and customers outside the lockdown areas.
“We understand the need for swift action to control the spread of COVID-19. However, it seems businesses are being treated as an afterthought when making lockdown decisions. If governments are going to rip the rug out from under them at short notice, they need to provide a safety net.”
CPA Australia is calling on federal, state and territory governments to work together to develop and deliver financial support to businesses severely impacted by lockdowns. What this looks like in practice is a matter for our governments, but we think it should be:
• Standardised (consistent across jurisdictions)
• Scaleable (to the duration of each lockdown)
• Targeted (to severely impacted businesses)
• Rapidly deployed (in hours not days or weeks)
Hunter said, “This is not a reaction to events in an individual state. The next lockdown could occur anywhere in Australia.
“Sympathy won’t pay for spoilt produce, cancelled bookings and empty chairs at empty tables. Businesses need more certainty – they need a coordinated national response that will deliver help fast when the next lockdown occurs.”
CPA Australia first proposed a standardised model of disaster support for businesses before the pandemic and reiterated calls for it in our 2021-22 Federal Budget Submission. Our proposal is equally applicable to natural disasters such as bushfires and floods, as it is to the current circumstances.