More than $800 million has been approved to businesses across the state to maintain staff and retain operations through COVID-19, helping to support more than 68,000 Queensland jobs.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was supporting small businesses as part of its plan for Queensland, Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
“We are now able to talk about our economic recovery because of the fantastic health response from Queenslanders,” the Premier said.
“We’ve been able to open Queensland for Queenslanders and that means supporting jobs in regional centres like Mackay.
“These loans have been able to support small businesses so they can keep employing people during the global coronavirus pandemic.”
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said nearly 100 local businesses have now been approved for the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans scheme.
“It’s no secret local businesses are doing it tough right now,” Mrs Gilbert said.
“With COVID-19 stripping many businesses of revenue, it did not take away day-to-day expenses like rent, rates and wages.
“The Jobs Support Loans scheme provides finance of up to $250,000 to assist with these bills, keeping doors open and locals in work.
“With $16.5 million rolled out in Mackay, more than 1,670 jobs have been saved during this challenging time.”
66 Whitsunday businesses have also been approved loans totalling $7.9 million supporting 452 local jobs.
Debbie Rains employs 35 staff across Travel Associates stores in Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville.
At the office on Victoria Street, staff have been flat out – not booking flights, but issuing refunds.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been absolutely dire,” Ms Rains said.
“Immediately, our total income ceased but as we are travel agents, all the work we did putting travel and holiday itineraries together, we have now had to cancel.
“That income has been spent on business running costs and now all our staff are busy, there is plenty of work to do, but there is no income.
Ms Rains has been able to use a COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan to keep all 35 staff in jobs and working to maintain their commitment to their clients.
“I thought I had been through everything as a travel agent and we’ve had our fair share of challenges but this was a big hit all at once.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to access this loan. Without it I would have been having a very different conversation with the 35 people than what I am able to have right now,” she said.
Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority is delivering the $1 billion COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan Scheme on behalf of the Palaszczuk Government.