The Premier must review inequitable distribution of funds under the government’s Small Business Emergency Support and Hardship grant programs.
Shadow Treasurer, David O’Byrne, said a number of businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis have been unable to access funds with little or no explanation.
“The grants program should have provided a quick and crucial lifeline to many Tasmanian businesses struggling to remain viable during the pandemic,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“But, unfortunately, we’ve heard from a number of businesses that have been left confused about the status of their application with some only now finding out that they have been unsuccessful or partially successful, up to seven weeks after making an application.
“One of the businesses I’ve heard from – Margate Country Kennels – applied for up to $15,000 in support six weeks ago, within hours of the funding announcement.
“They have only just been informed of a decision, with no satisfactory explanation offered why it took so long to have these crisis payments considered other than that the program was heavily subscribed.
“This is an eligible business that employs a number of Tasmanians, applied for help early, has provided all information requested of it, and maintained regular contact with the department throughout the assessment process, but was still left in limbo while other similar businesses with later applications received grants ahead of them.
“Like so many others, Margate Country Kennels have had their operations significantly impacted by COVID-19 and need urgent assistance. For them to apply within hours of a grant opening and be left waiting for so long is unacceptable.
“They have now been told their $15,000 grant application was unsuccessful, but they may be eligible for the $4,000 grant instead. This is a massive difference for a small business and could determine whether the kennels survive.